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Crocs Story Ignites Media Frenzy

A negative press report puts the brand back in the headlines, and CEO John Duerden uses the web to respond.

CEO John Duerden

CEO John Duerden

Photo By CARMEL ZUCKER

After a story in the Washington Post sparked renewed questions about the viability of Crocs — and spurred major media attention — the struggling company went straight to the web to defend its position.

Spokeswoman Tia Mattson told Footwear News on Friday that a reporter from the Washington Post called Crocs CEO John Duerden on Wednesday to get comments for a story about the brand. The article, which appeared Thursday, intimated that the company’s collapse could be imminent and that Crocs would be unable to pay down debt due in September. According to Mattson, the piece did not represent Duerden’s side of the story.

Subsequently, dozens of media outlets — print, online and television — picked up the news, prompting Duerden to respond via the company’s blog, as well an on other blogs, including nymag.com.

“In response to the Washington Post’s article about the health of Crocs, Inc., I’d like to clear up a few points,” Duerden wrote. “We sell comfortable, durable shoes in a wide variety of appealing styles for men, women and children, and offer great value. This is a good business to be in at a time when families are watching their budgets, and we’re confident in the future of our company.”

He went on to acknowledge that the company does face “challenges resulting from rapid growth. We’ve taken action to address those challenges, including aligning our production capacity to meet demand, reducing our overhead expenses and the size of our workforce, and paying down debt.” (The full text of the response is available at blog.crocs.com.)

Beyond Duerden’s written response, the company also addressed the articles on Twitter and its website, which featured a promotion with tagline “Staying Afloat Is In Our DNA.”

As reported, the company hired Duerden in March to get the firm back on track and the CEO is implementing a new strategy that focuses on expense management and inventory control. But serious hurdles still remain for the firm, whose auditor cast doubt on its ability to survive earlier this year.

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