Another Ugg comeback is officially taking hold. After several quarters of lagging sales, Deckers Brands reported on Thursday that the label has returned to gains in the second quarter of fiscal 2024 — and the momentum is expected to continue.
In fact, the Goleta, Calif.-based footwear company reported that Ugg saw net sales in the period increase 28.1 percent to $610.5 million, compared to $476.5 million in same time last year. What’s more, global revenue for the brand also increased 18 percent in the first half of fiscal year 2024.
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Deckers president and CEO Dave Powers told analyst on the company’s earnings call on Thursday that Ugg’s strong first half performance was driven primarily by high levels of brand heat, disciplined marketplace management leading to product scarcity on key styles exiting last fall and an earlier release of the brand’s fall marketing campaign relative to past years.
“We currently have the most cohesive, globally aligned product, marketing and consumer targeting strategy I’ve ever seen for Ugg,” Powers said.
And as momentum for Ugg’s growth continues to build, here are four reasons the brand is back on top this fall.
On Thursday’s call, Powers acknowledged again that Ugg did not fully capture demand on several key styles last year. But that’s not the case now.
“As we began this fiscal year, we strategically developed targeted inventory that caters to the brand’s most popular products,” the executive said. “The allocation and segmentation of core and popular new styles continues to serve the brand well, helping drive high levels of full price sell-through.”
“Ugg is well positioned to capture consumer demand during the holiday season,” Powers said. “Considering the demand we’ve seen thus far, we are already in chase mode for a select group of popular items and colors for which we are expediting production to ensure greater DTC inventory through the season.”
Earlier Fall Promo
This year, Powers said that the company rolled out its seasonal marketing campaign, “Feels Like Ugg,” earlier than in prior years. In fact, instead of its typical September rollout, Ugg released its debut fall campaign in July.
“From July 15 to August 15, we saw a groundswell of influencer public service announcements, reminding consumers to buy Ugg now,” Powers told analysts. “Videos using #Ugg received over 25 million views during that timeframe, and Ugg saw twice the level of engagement on Instagram as compared to last year. We believe the Ugg team’s strategic marketing shift served as a catalyst for earlier fall consumer demand globally. In the U.S. specifically, this shift helped fuel greater back-to-school demand with search interest increasing 46 percent versus last year, according to Google Trends.”
Cardi B’s Magic Touch
To keep this momentum going at the tail end of September, Ugg celebrated the official kickoff of #Ugg season with music superstar Cardi B, whose video announcement featuring the new classic dipper had nearly 20 million views. This resulted in significant press and media coverage of the launch.
“The buzz is something that, in my experience at the company, I have never witnessed before. It’s palpable,” Powers said. “The full price sell-through, the health of the marketplace, the teams just collectively have done an amazing job across the globe to set this brand up for success. And we’re really excited that we were able to capture some demand early in the season before holiday shopping before there’s potential slowdowns in the marketplace.”
International Growth Potential
Just like its Hoka brand, which just opened a new store in London’s Covent Garden neighborhood, Deckers believes its Ugg label can strategically grow its international business. “Brand heat created by the Ugg team directly translated to incredible first half results, particularly from the global DTC business and international regions, which both experienced a revenue increase of above 25 percent versus last year,” Power said. “Ugg wholesale performance in the first half is right in line with our strategy this year with international regions fueling the majority of growth, while the brand maintains its strong business in the U.S.”
Powers added that Ugg’s international business, particularly in Europe is “really healthy” as new product is “resonating well” across the board with younger consumers.
“It’s really exciting to see,” the CEO added. “We haven’t been in this position in Europe in quite some time, but the momentum is real. The brand heat is improving. The level of acquisition and consideration for our consumers are all heading in the right direction. So we think this is an opportunity to build on this, particularly in the U.K. and Germany, our two biggest markets. And we’re going to continue to play this playbook out and get more aggressive with marketing activations in the region.”
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