The Birkenstocks that (always) sell best are leather ones

Le Birkenstock che vendono (sempre) di più sono quelle in pelle

In terms of sales volume, leather Birkenstocks beat those with synthetic uppers. And resoundingly, too. According to data held by the German brand controlled by L Catterton, sales of leather sandals rose by 68% while those with synthetic uppers increased by “only” 22%. Considerations came in the conference call with analysts to comment on the +22% increase in revenues, which reached a record EUR 481 million in the January-March 2024 period. While net profit soared 45% to EUR 72 million.

Synthetic cornered

“In our core sandal business, we are not only seeing a strong sell through, but also a transition in the penetration of leather versus synthetic”, said Birkenstock Americas President David Kahan during the conference call, with a reference not limited to the US market, however. Kahan explained with numbers why leather beats synthetic. “Sales of leather sandals are up about 68% over last year, while sales of synthetic sandals are up 22%. So, we are seeing that consumers are switching to more premium versions”.

Lasting investment

The same manager stated that “many consumers seem to prefer leather almost as an investment. In their shoe cupboards, a pair of Birkenstocks, when compared to certain trainers, and if made of leather, might be the most expensive item they have”. During the conference call it was also reported that sales of the new woven suede line had almost doubled in one year. The company pointed to a growth in sales from closed-toe shoes as well. “We said before the IPO that this was a growth opportunity for us, and we’ve seen it. It’s really huge”, emphasised brand CEO Oliver Reichert.

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