Deckers Brands CEO Dave Powers doubled down on the success of the company’s Hoka brand in a call with analysts on Thursday evening.
During the call, the CEO admitted the company is playing the “long game” with Hoka, which he said has “a lot of runway ahead of it” following another quarter of sales gains.
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“In some ways, we’re in no rush,” Powers said. “We don’t want to flood the market ahead of demand. We want to control our product experiences. We want to segment across doors and consumers appropriately, and so we’re managing doing this the right way with exceptional growth at the same time.”
This comes as the running brand drove most of the gains at Deckers in the most recent fourth quarter and full year. In fact, Hoka saw a 40.3 percent increase to $397.7 million in Q4, compared with last years’ $283.5 million. For the full year, net sales at Hoka jumped 58.5 percent to $1.41 billion, compared with $891.6 million the prior year.
Now, the executive is confident Hoka will be a $2 billion brand “pretty soon,” as the company has “done the math” for the next couple of years.
“There is just a tremendous white space for this brand to grow,” Powers said. “When we look at how many people still haven’t heard of Hoka and what we know about people who do hear about the brand and try it, what that means from a lifetime value perspective is it’s a numbers game.”
Powers also noted that the brand’s category expansion beyond road running and into trail running, hiking, outdoor, lifestyle, kids’ and apparel allows for a multibillion-dollar opportunity. “We have a lot of confidence in the product teams and the marketing teams and the global leadership teams that we’ve established through our omnichannel marketplace management over the years and our partnerships with key accounts. We know how to do this. We just want to make sure we do it right.”
Looking globally, Powers did admit that international growth at Hoka is also in the “early innings.” The executive called out an example in Italy, where the company is strategically closing some doors to improve the presentation of the brand and its long-term health.
“Globally, I think awareness for the Hoka brand is around 24 percent, certainly lower in EMEA and China, as you can imagine, and so we need to build that demand,” said Powers. “We need to build up representation of the brand in front of the consumer and the experience. And we’re really excited about those opportunities. We see all these markets, including some distributor markets in the Asia Pacific region, as very exceptional growth opportunities for this brand.”
Turning to Hoka’s owned stores, Powers said he is “pleased” with how they are performing. “We’re in early days of Hoka retail, and we want to make sure that we get the experience right, that our customers are served in a premium way, and we have the right assortments,” he told analysts.
Looking ahead, Powers said that Hoka will be evolving its store design, while also opening more pop-ups across the U.S. to test markets and the appetite for the brand. Powers also added that it will open its first permanent store in New York City “in the next few weeks.”
“Long term, we see DTC and stores, obviously, as an important part of our mix,” Powers added. “Retail stores will continue to grow in line with the company’s growth and in line with Hoka’s expansion over time. But we do think retail for Hoka in North America, Europe and particularly China — as a place to experience the brand head-to-toe and get to know the brand better — is important in key markets.”