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Once-trendy Crocs, struggling for sales, looks to go private - source 

Crocs used to be trendy, now the colorful clogs may be a little down at the heel.

Crocs Inc. is considering going private, among other strategic options, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. The move comes just two weeks after the company reported that third-quarter net profit fell 71 percent due in part to weaker sales in the U.S. and Japan. It also issued a disappointing earnings forecast, and announced plans to buy back more shares.

The company has held talks with a small group of private equity firms, including Blackstone Group and KKR & Co, said the source, asking not to be identified because the discussions are confidential.

Representatives for Crocs, Blackstone and KKR either declined to comment or did not immediately respond to requests from Reuters for comment.

Crocs shares were up over 10 percent on Wednesday afternoon on the Nasdaq on buzz about a possible buyout.

The company burst onto the footwear market in 2006 with its brightly-colored clogs with their signature aeration holes. Celebrity chef Mario Batali and actresses Brooke Shields and Whoopi Goldberg were photographed wearing Crocs. The Crocs line of footwear even includes a signature Bistro Batali shoe for working in the kitchen.


But in fashion, nothing last forever, and the big, clunky Crocs, which were loved by soccer moms, but despised by many fashionistas, seem to have run their course.

Last month, Crocs posted a 2 percent decline in sales for the third quarter, hurt by weakness in the Americas and Japan. The company said it saw less discretionary spending for footwear, apparel and other consumer goods in the U.S.

"I wish I could tell you we were expecting a big improvement in consumer confidence in the U.S. throughout the year, but we are not," Crocs Chief Executive John McCarvel told Wall Street analysts on the company's earnings call last month.