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Birkenstock Slumps as Forecast Disappoints Some Investors

Man wearing Birkenstock sandals in hammock.
The stock slid 12 percent in trading before US exchanges opened. (Birkenstock)

Birkenstock Holding Plc fell after its growth targets failed to satisfy traders who were hoping for more from the German sandal maker.

The stock slid 12 percent in trading before US exchanges opened. If the drop extends into trading hours, it could erase the gains made since the company’s initial public offering in October.

Birkenstock said revenue this year could grow by as much as 18 percent to €1.76 billion ($1.92 billion). While that’s higher than analysts were anticipating, it disappointed investors who’ve become increasingly bullish on the brand.

Chief executive officer Oliver Reichert has argued that Birkenstock still has plenty of room for growth following the rapid expansion of the past decade. The company — whose roots date back to 1774 — is targeting previously untapped countries like China and India, sidestepping concerns about inflation and penny-pinching in more traditional markets.

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Birkenstock’s peak revenue target 2024 is above the €1.69 billion average of analyst estimates. The company also reported revenue that beat estimates for its fiscal fourth quarter.

But with investors increasingly upbeat about its prospects — especially at a time when casual footwear makers like Nike Inc. are warning about demand — the German company needed to deliver a “meaningful” earnings beat and forecast to fuel a share increase, UBS analysts said in a note before the report.

The stock is also ripe for volatility as investors decide whether the initial negative reaction to the IPO was overdone. The fact that almost a third of Birkenstock’s available shares are sold short, according to data from S3 Partners, adds to the pressure.

Traditionally a maker of no-frills sandals, Birkenstock has built up its offering of higher-end footwear and its line of closed-toe products in recent years, including the Bend sneaker, the Highwood boots and more clogs with shearling.

While Birkenstock attracted attention from designers as far back as the 1980s, the company has come to really embrace the fashion world over the last decade or so, launching collaborations with luxury names such as Dior, Manolo Blahnik and Rick Owens.

Last summer, Birkenstock benefited from a cameo in the blockbuster Barbie movie, which stars Margot Robbie in the title role donning a pair of pink Birkenstocks in one scene. That’s added to the multi-generational appeal of the brand, which performs the vast majority of its production in Germany.

By Tim Loh

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Wall Street Starts Birkenstock With Top Rating, Flags Limited Upside

Birkenstock made its New York Stock Exchange debut last month at $41, below its initial public offering price.

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