I went to West County mall in the weekend, my first trip after coming back. Among all the St. Louis malls, I like West County the best because it has some of my favorite products (or stores): Apple store; Journeys, the shoe store has Crocs and Heelys; Dick’s Sporting Good has Crocs and Under Armour. Here is my impression on them.
1) Apple: initially I was surprised to see a Black Sony TV on display. Just as I was wondering whether Sony took over the place, I saw the Apple TV (the little box). This place is still full of people, it appears the iPod nano are still hot. Priced at $149 to 219, nano is not cheap. But people keep buying it. Of course for Apple the biggest buzz is iPhone debut in June.
2) Journeys: I still saw Heelys there, but wonder if anybody is buying. Looking back I made a mistake buying it on its IPO debut, Heelys (HLYS) is not going to become next Crocs (CROX), due to several reasons: 1) The expectation was high in the IPO pricing. Ususally when people think someone is going to be next “Microsoft”, things don’t work out that way; 2) Heelys, the skating shoes don’t have wide appeal as Crocs. The kids in the US can skate in the mall here, can they do that in China? It’s much more crowded. On the other hand, almost everybody can wear the crocs. Also I saw in its prospectus it already sold 3.2 million pairs of shoes in the first 9 months of 2006, while there are 36.4 million kids (aged 6 to 14, their target customers) in the US. So the growth in the US will be moderate.
3) Dick’s: I saw so many Under Armour (UA) products, from sports wear to slippers. I am not postive on Under Armour especially on international growth, although Cramer consistently saying the next “Nike”.
On the other hand, I was very impressed by Crocs new products: more colors, and more styles for women.
Disclosure: I hold CROX at this time.