Charlotte Street Partners

DAILY BRIEFING

DAILY BRIEFING

Croc of gold

Written by Charlie Clegg, Senior associate 
Edited by Iain Gibson, associate partner
29 April 2021

Good morning,

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Those words of George Santayana came to mind with this week’s big news: Crocs are back.

Part clog, part colander, all resin, the Croc burned brightly and briefly as the most divisive footwear trend of 2006-07. This week, the brand announced a 64% revenue increase in the first quarter, with revenues expected to grow between 40% to 50% in 2021 overall.  In the week Tony Blair has re-entered the political fray sporting a lockdown-induced mullet, nostalgia for the mid-noughties, however inexplicable, seems to be the latest twist in the pandemic.

Mere fond memories are not the chief reasons for Crocs’ success. The brand is benefitting from a savvy celebrity and social media strategy. Musician Justin Bieber and actor Priyanka Chopra have donned the shoes whilst the Oscars’ music director Questlove sported a golden pair of Crocs at this week’s awards ceremony. On video platform TikTok, the hashtag “crocs” has 1.6bn views. At a time when three fifths of British 15-year-olds have a TikTok account, the Croc revival may be driven by those too young to remember their first incarnation.

For all the apparent triviality of Bieber-endorsed resin clogs, their revival shows how lockdown is transforming shopping habits. Unlike normal shoes, which require in-person fittings, Crocs’ looseness makes them a less risky buy online. Much of the company’s recent revenue uptick comes from a 75.3% boost in online sales in the first quarter.

We might expect this trend to reverse as – or if – shoppers repopulate the high streets. Yet, while in-person retail sales have risen sharply overall, the boost is limited when it comes to the hardest hit sectors: clothing and footwear. It remains to be seen whether these sectors can fully return to form once all restrictions are lifted. For them, the future seems uncertain.

Crocs and high street fashion have this in common: repeating the past may hold some appeal for both.

News

Arlene Foster has announced she will resign as DUP leader on 28 May and as first minister of Northern Ireland by the end of June. Foster resigned after 85% of her party’s representatives in the Northern Ireland Assembly signed a letter to express no confidence in her leadership. Hardliners want to take a tougher stance on the protocol which leads to checks on goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. (£)

In the US, President Biden has announced the most radical overhaul of jobs, benefits, and education since the 1960s. Speaking to congress on his 100th day in office, the president announced $4tn in planned measures to restart the economy and expand security. The plans, which include massive job creation and increases in childcare and education provision, must now pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The Electoral Commission has announced an investigation into the sources of money for the refurbishment of the prime minister’s Downing Street flat. At prime minister’s questions yesterday, Johnson insisted he had paid for the redecoration himself.

Turkey will impose its first lockdown since the pandemic began. Turkey’s early combative action had been praised internationally as exemplary. Although deaths remain relatively low at 39,000, daily cases have peaked as high as 6,000 this month.

Business and economy

A new report has shown the funds industry is failing to deliver consistent high returns for investors. BMO’s analysis of over a thousand funds shows only 1.8% of funds have consistently achieved top performance over the past three years.

Nestlé is expected to cut 600 UK jobs after it announced the planned closure of its Fawdon sweet factory in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and a cut in jobs at its York site. The Swiss food company is also proposing £20m investment at its York location alongside a £9m investment at its Halifax premises to take on work from Fawdon.

British business leaders have called on the UK government to “normalise” trading relations with the EU. The coalition of groups, including the CBI, made the call after the European parliament yesterday ratified the UK-EU trade deal. (£)

Columns of note

Following the resignation of Labour MP Mike Hill, there will be a by-election in the northern English port town of Hartlepool on 6 May. Formerly a Labour stronghold, the Conservatives now stand a serious chance of gaining the predominantly working-class seat. Jim Pickard and Sebastian Payne of the Financial Times speak to locals and politicians in a thorough investigation of the seat with a by-election that could define Keir Starmer’s attempts to win back the ‘red wall’. (£)

Mauro Morandi, “Italy’s Robinson Crusoe”, has lived alone on Budelli, an island off Sardinia, for 30 years. Threatened with eviction, he is now moving to a larger, more populous island. For Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, Morandi’s story represents a long-standing idyll of solitude: one which, she argues in the Guardian, has become more appealing to many during lockdown. She suggests the coming summer of reopening could be a chance to reassess the social lives we really want.

Cartoon source: The Times

Markets

What happened yesterday? 

After strong first quarter results fuelled recent all-time highs on Wall Street, the S&P 500 index closed down 0.1% while the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.3%.

After a record high on 19 April, Europe’s Stoxx index closed flat while a 1.2% rise in Brent crude to $67.22 a barrel helped the FTSE 100 to close up 0.3%. The dollar index dipped 0.1%, staying at its weakest point since early March.

In company news: 

Facebook has announced £26bn in revenue: its strongest ever first quarter result.

Apple has more than doubled its revenue in the first quarter, to £89.6bn.

The Grosvenor Group has recorded a pre-tax loss of £310.8m for 2020, despite the property firm’s payment of a £47.5m dividend to its owner, the Duke of Westminster. (£)

Lloyds Banking Group has announced forecast-beating pre-tax profits of £1.9bn. The gain has been helped by the release of £459m set aside to cover bad debt.

What’s happening today?

Finals
ANGLE
Rothschilds 9
Rtw Venture Fu.
Shield Thera
Woodbois
Xeros Tech

Interims
C4x Discry Hdgs
Proactis
WHSmith

Q1 Results
Indivior
Natwest Grp   
Nokia Ord
Royal Dutch Shell A
Royal Dutch Shell B

Trading Announcements
ConvaTec
Evraz
Flutter Ent
Howden Joinery
In The Style
Inchcape
Lancashire Holdings
Schroders
Smith & Nephew
Unilever

AGMs
Allianz Technology Trust
Blackrock Wld
CRH
Dalata Hotel Gp
Devro
Flutter Ent
Glencore
Globaltrans S
Greencoat Rene.
Hawkwing
Independent O&G
Inter. Pers.
ITV
KAZ Minerals
Kerry
Meggitt
Novolip Regs
Octopus Aim 2
Pjsc Lsr Group
Schroders
Stvg
Synthomer
Weir Group
Yamana Gold

Annual report
Fondul Proprietatea
Mail.rugrp S
Rtw Venture Fu.
Electrica Regs

UK economic announcements
(07:00) Nationwide House Price Index

Int. economic announcements
(08:55) Unemployment Rate (GER)
(09:00) M3 Money Supply (EU)
(10:00) Business Climate Indicator (EU)
(10:00) Consumer Confidence (EU)
(10:00) Services Sentiment (EU)
(10:00) Industrial Confidence (EU)
(10:00) Economic Sentiment Indicator (EU)(13:30) GDP (Preliminary) (US)(13:30) Continuing Claims (US)
(13:30) Initial Jobless Claims (US)
(15:00) Pending Homes Sales (US)

Source: Financial Times

did you know

91% of British 12 to 15-year-olds have their own smartphones while 48% of three to four-year-olds have their own tablets. (Source: BBC)

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

Oral questions
Transport (including topical questions)

Consideration of Lord message
If necessary

Prorogation

House of Lords 

Oral questions
Various

Private notice question
Introduction of COVID-status certification for international and domestic use

Debate
Report from the Conduct Committee ‘Lords office-holders’ interests’

Scottish Parliament 

The Scottish parliament will remain in recess ahead of the election on 6 May.

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