For the past two and a half years, Westlake Village-based K-Swiss has been trying to transform itself from a staid, shield-logoed company that introduced the first leather tennis shoe at Wimbledon in 1966 into a cutting-edge footwear brand. It’s put millions of dollars into developing and marketing specialized shoes for triathletes and runners, investments that have shown promise but not yet returns, while losses have steepened.
So it was a blow when word came in late April that a contract manufacturer’s factory in Thailand had unexpectedly gone bankrupt and shut down. The closure left an unfilled order for 700,000 pairs of K-Swiss shoes and a $5 million hole in second and third quarter revenue.
“If it wasn’t for bad luck, there’d be no luck at all,” said Sam Poser, a senior research analyst with Sterne, Agee & Leach, which has a buy rating on K-Swiss stock.