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It’s a bad time for Under Armour to be feeling growing pains. sports specialty stores. Competition among sports apparel makers has heated up. Consumers are fleeing stores for online shopping, and increasingly demanding sports brands offer fashion as well as workout clothes.

But the Baltimore brand has struggled more, some say, to adjust to new realities in the marketplace after years of rapid growth came to an abrupt halt this year. The company slashed its earning guidance in half with its report of third quarter results on Tuesday and warned of little growth in the United States through next year. Quarterly sales fell for the first time since the company went public in 2005, dropping 4 percent to just over $1.4 billion. Shares plunged, losing almost a quarter of their value Tuesday and closing Friday at an all time low of $11.61 a share.

After years of rapid growth, Under Armour’s quarterly sales fell for the first time since it went public in the third quarter, the company announced Tuesday.

And some changes are likely. Rather than seeking out new retail partners to sell its merchandise in the United States, it is undertaking a comprehensive review of that wholesale business, made up of the sports specialty stores, mall stores, department stores and others that account for 60 percent of its domestic sales. The company will look at how to balance its mix of retail partners, aiming to be in the stores where consumers are shopping, while trying to gauge the impact of potential future store closings.

“As the environment continues to change out there, we’re going to continue, of course, to evaluate where the brand is going to show up in the future,” said Kevin Plank, Under Armour’s CEO and founder, on Tuesday during a conference call with analysts. “We will not be adding any additional distribution in our wholesale channels going forward.”

Analysts said a turnaround is possible but will take time.

“They seem to be at a crossroads, where they’re having a bit of an identity crisis,” said Jason Moser, an analyst with the Motley Fool’s Million Dollar Portfolio. “Do they consider themselves premium brand, a brand for the masses or something in between? What’s the ultimate goal?”

Patrik Frisk, brought in by Plank in July to serve as company president, said during the conference call that the company’s “reason to exist” will be making products that blend high performance innovation with function and style.

That “has been and will continue to be at the core of who we are,” Frisk said. “Under Armour is a performance brand. Looking back over the last few years, we’ve been inconsistent with this promise. This inconsistency stops now.”

The 20 year old Under Armour has been more vulnerable to industry woes than some of its more established rivals, analysts said. Nike also reported a drop in wholesale revenue in North America in its most recent quarter for some of the same reasons, but Under Armour faces its own set of challenges.

While the company built its brand on performance apparel,
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and has created shoes and clothing around athletes such as NBA superstar Stephen Curry, ballet dancer Misty Copeland and quarterback Tom Brady, it has lagged some of its competitors in expanding into fashion oriented sportswear, launching its Under Armour Sportswear line just over a year ago.

While international sales are growing, the bulk of its business is domestic, with 80 percent of sales generated in North America, where revenue dropped 12 percent in the third quarter. sales. The rest comes through its websites and 179 full price and outlet stores under the Under Armour banner.

“They are faced with some very serious challenges because of the wholesale shift,” Moser said.

“We believe that the root of [Under Armour’s] problem in North America lies in the company’s inability to elevate and/or protect the Under Armour brand,” wrote Sam Poser, an analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group LLP, in a report Tuesday. “We believe brand erosion in North America has caused [Under Armour] products to become indistinct in the marketplace, ubiquitous across channels and vulnerable to the promotional environment,” leading retailers to scale back on and cancel product orders.

Nike, too, has spread itself across market segments, but its brand has been able to withstand dilution.

“”You’ll find Nike gear everywhere,” Moser said. “They’re able to sell to the high end and also able to sell in other wholesale channels. It’s a product of time and being able to build the brand up and the reputation behind it. That gives them the leeway to pursue other customer demographics.”

Retail expert Howard Davidowitz disagrees that expanding into Kohl’s may have been a misstep.

“The future of retailing, or the strongest part of it, is in the discounters. They’re continuing to grow, and department stores are shrinking,” said the chairman of Davidowitz Associates, a New York based retail consulting and investment banking firm. “If you’re going to do wholesale, you’ve got to sell to somebody who’s going to stay in business.”

Beyond that, he noted that brands such as Adidas have regained popularity by offering must have shoes and apparel.

“The way to get your mojo back is to do what Adidas did, and that is develop incredible product where it becomes a must have item,” he said. “This company is a product company. That’s what they do. They had that going and were on a tremendous roll. The question is who’s going to have something that’s going to turn on the customer the most?”

Conditions in the retail environment are not likely to improve this year, Plank said during the conference call. But the company is on track to improve operations, product design, sourcing and efficiency at bringing products to market, he said.

“We already have multilevel strategies in play to right size and amplify the business throughout our portfolio,
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” Plank said.

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Under Armour has timed the launch of its much talked about Speedform Gemini running shoe to the days just before the NYC Marathon.

The Baltimore sports apparel company unveiled the shoe, the latest version of the Speedform Apollo introduced earlier this year, at its Under Armour Brand House store in Soho on Thursday night.

Footwear, a key growth area for the brand, accounts for about 13 percent of overall sales and is projected by the company to eventually catch up with or exceed apparel business. Running and basketball shoes have been top drivers of Under Armour’s footwear growth.

The $130 Gemini is designed for runners who want extra cushioning for longer distances. The shoes are made with the brand’s Charged Foam, “a new mid sole foam that has a unique combination of bouncy feel and impact,” the company’s announcement said.

The idea is to adapt to any runner’s needs, Under Armour said. The shoe will be debuted by Under Armour athlete Chris “Macca” McCormack, a triathlete who will run the marathon. The Gemini will be available on Under Armour’s website on Jan. 1. and in stores that month.

Another new running shoe, the SpeedForm Vent RC, which will sell for $100 and uses the brand’s ArmourVent technology designed to give breath ability to apparel, will be worn in the New York Marathon by Nick Arciniaga, winner of the Baltimore Half Marathon. The Vent also will be available in early January.
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National Basketball Association (NBA) Golden State Warriors and 2014 2015 season Most Valuable Player (MVP) Stephen Curry (R) arrives before taking part in a drill with young players in Manila on September 5, 2015. Curry started his three nation (Japan, China and Philippines) Under Armour Asia tour to promote the company’s limited edition basketball shoes, “UA Curry II.”

National Basketball Association (NBA) Golden State Warriors and 2014 2015 season Most Valuable Player (MVP) Stephen Curry (R) arrives before taking part in a drill with young players in Manila on September 5, 2015. Curry started his three nation (Japan, China and Philippines) Under Armour Asia tour to promote the company’s limited edition basketball shoes, “UA Curry II.”

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and NBA star Stephen Curry have wrapped up a whirlwind, five city, five day tour of Asia, where the Under Armour athlete appeared before cheering fans in packed arenas and malls and unveiled his latest Under Armour shoe.

The Golden State Warriors guard, met by cheers of “MVP,” showed off the the new signature Curry Two basketball shoe, praising it as lightweight, supportive, comfortable and “a very, very good shoe.”

He and Plank headlined what the company called the Under Armour Roadshow. They landed in Tokyo Sept. 4, then headed to Manila before visiting three cities in China, Beijing, Chongqing and Shanghai.

In that city’s downtown, Curry helped open a new, 15,000 square foot Under Armour Brand House store.

It’s not surprising Under Armour would appeal to basketball fans in China, the heart of the growing consumer market in Asia that’s home to more than 60 Under Armour stores with more on the way.

During a special meeting of shareholders Aug. 26, Plank said he aspires to grow the basketball business alone to $1 billion as the company looks to spread internationally.

“Being a global company is the way we think about life,” Plank told shareholders during the meeting at the Locust Point headquarters, noting that its apparel and footwear was sold in more than 62 countries at the and of last year. “We expect to be a global business brand.”
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If Yogi Berra were alive (and young enough to still be playing baseball) today, maybe he’d wear Under Armour catcher’s gear? It’s deja vu all over again for the athletic apparel company this year on the links and basketball court as well as Wall Street.

Under Armour (UA) endorser Jordan Spieth was sitting atop the leaderboard of the Masters golf tournament after the first round Thursday. Open last year.

And basketball star Steph Curry, who has his own line of Under Armour sneakers, could win another MVP award and NBA championship. His Golden State Warriors have the league’s best record and a shot at setting the mark for most regular season wins.

So it should be no surprise that Under Armour, which pulled an Alphabet/Google (GOOGL) Friday and did a stock split by issuing a new class of shares to investors, is having another solid 2016.

The stock was up 7% year to date as of Thursday. That follows a nearly 20% increase last year.

Related: Thanks,
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Steph Curry! Under Armour’s sales and stock soar

Sure, another Masters win for Spieth and NBA title for Curry may not necessarily lead consumers to rush and buy more Under Armour shoes en masse.

But it doesn’t hurt especially since Under Armour is still a relatively small player in the business when compared to heavyweights Nike (NKE) and Adidas (ADDYY).

The strong performances of Spieth and Curry clearly help raise brand awareness for Under Armour much like the dominance of Michael Jordan did for Nike back in the 1990s.

As a result, she thinks Under Armour could generate more than 20% of its sales from international markets by 2018 and that’s a big reason why she just increased her price target for the stock.

Related: Jordan Spieth lands big Coca Cola endorsement deal

Spieth and Curry may not have the star power of a Jordan just yet. But both are young and seem to be getting better each year.

Under Armour also has reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers as an endorser and the past two MVPs of baseball’s National League: Bryce Harper and Clayton Kershaw. (Kershaw, a pitcher, has won 3 Cy Young awards since 2011 too.)

So Under Armour has the star power and earnings expectations worthy of a Wall Street MVP award as well. Analysts are forecasting profit growth of more than 20% in 2016 and 2017.

The only downside is Under Armour’s exorbitant valuation. Shares trade for about 65 times this year’s earnings forecasts a huge premium to Nike.

But as any sports fan not to mention team owner or general manager knows,
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The other shoe has dropped for struggling sneaker company Under Armour. Under Armour reported quarterly sales Tuesday that fell nearly 5% from a year ago, missing forecasts badly. The company also lowered its outlook for the year again.

That news sent the company’s two classes of stock down more than 20% Tuesday. They had already lost nearly half their value for the year ahead of the earnings report. (Under Armour’s UAA (UAA) shares have voting rights while the UA (UA) shares do not.)

CEO Kevin Plank said in the earnings release that the biggest problem is lower demand for its shoes and athletic apparel in its home market of the United States.

The Baltimore based company has been growing internationally, with sales surging in Europe, Latin America and Asia during the quarter.

Related: Under Armour’s CEO had to ditch Trump

But those markets are still relatively tiny for Under Armour. Revenue in North America makes up more than three quarters of its overall sales and those sales plunged 12% in the third quarter.

It’s a stunning fall from grace for Under Armour, which not that long ago was gaining market share at the expense of Nike and Adidas.

The company signed Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry a few years ago, a move that seemed like a slam dunk success, since Curry has gone on to win multiple NBA MVP awards and two championships.

But several iterations of the Curry shoes have routinely been mocked on social media for not looking cool. Even Curry’s teammate Kevin Durant, who endorses Nike (NKE), poked fun at Under Armour earlier this year.

Making matters worse, there have been reports of supply chain issues with the new Curry 4 line of sneakers. And Under Armour confirmed during its conference call with analysts Tuesday that it will delay some products to the fourth quarter.

Related: Air ball! Nobody’s buying expensive sneakers

Under Armour also suffered from bad PR earlier this year after Plank agreed to join the White House’s now defunct manufacturing council. Plank said in an interview with CNBC that “a pro business president is something that is a real asset for the country.”

Curry told The Mercury News that he agreed with Plank but only “if you remove the ‘et’ from asset.” Other professional athletes have been vocal about their disagreements with Trump as well.

As such, Plank like many other CEOs has distanced himself from Trump lately.

After Trump was reluctant to criticize neo Nazis at a white supremacist rally, he then bashed Curry for not wanting to visit the White House and attacked athletes who protested the national anthem. Under Armour has come to the defense of its star endorsers.

But that hasn’t been enough to rejuvenate Under Armour’s flagging sales or stock price.

Meanwhile, Adidas (ADDYY) has thrived in the past year while Under Armour and Nike have both struggled. Even Skechers (SKX) has enjoyed a resurgence lately.

So what can Under Armour do to get back on track? Neil Saunders, managing director of the research firm GlobalData Retail, wrote in a report that the company should continue to focus on expanding globally, which has been successful for Under Armour.

But Saunders added that the company has to do more to court women as consumers, as Nike, Adidas and yoga apparel king Lululemon (LULU) have successfully done.

“Under Armour is not so broken that it cannot be fixed. But the days of glory, when it would post double digit uplifts in sales, are over. Now is the time to work out, slim down, and become more competitive,” Saunders wrote.
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Losing out on signing NBA superstar Kevin Durant to Nike last week could have been a downer for Under Armour, but you wouldn’t know it from how the company, its stock and its founder reacted.

The Baltimore based sports brand released a video Tuesday, two days after Durant tweeted that he was staying with Nike, showing Gisele Bundchen walking into a gym decked out in Under Armour clothes and shoes.

With the signing of the Brazilian supermodel to represent its growing women’s line, the company’s stock surged 4 percent that day and ended the week up 6 percent at $72.53 a share.

Kevin Plank, Under Armour’s founder and CEO, likewise shrugged off the loss of Durant, saying it showed his company is prepared to do what’s necessary to get big future endorsements as it takes on its bigger sports apparel rivals.

“There’s no deal too big for us,” Plank said on Bloomberg TV in the only public interview he gave last week. “Our world has changed. We are the kids sitting at the Thanksgiving table saying, ‘I don’t want sit at the little table anymore. I want a chair at the big table.’ ”

For Under Armour, pursuing endorsements in two of its key growth areas sales of apparel and shoes to women and sales of footwear in sports with wide appeal such as basketball is crucial in elevating the brand globally, experts said.

Durant, the popular Oklahoma City Thunder forward who has long endorsed Nike shoes and apparel, would have been a coup for Under Armour as it tries to make inroads in the basketball shoe market. basketball market, while Under Armour’s share is estimated at less than 1 percent.

Under Armour, which had $2.3 billion in annual sales last year, is a relatively new player in footwear, where it started in football and baseball cleats. But basketball is the second largest athletic footwear category in the United States, accounting for $4.5 billion in retail sales last year, according to Matt Powell, a retail analyst and owner of Princeton Retail Analysis.

Under Armour offered Durant a reported $265 million to $285 million over 10 years. Not unexpectedly, Nike, which had offered him $200 million, exercised its right under its current contract with Durant to outbid a competitor and protect its investment. One report valued Durant’s Nike deal at up to $350 million over 20 years.

“Nike is a tough competitor, particularly in basketball,” said Howe Burch, president of Baltimore based TBC Advertising. “I’m sure they felt it was important to protect that and were willing to pay what they did.”

During the Bloomberg interview, Plank described Durant’s contract as a bigger than expected hit to Nike’s marketing budget, and thus a win for Under Armour.

“Do I take pleasure in that they paid $150 million more than they planned on paying?” Plank said. “Absolutely.”

And he may be right, analysts said.

“Because they were involved, they got Nike to spend more money than they wanted to, and that is a win for Under Armour,” Powell said. “I see not getting him as a win for Under Armour, because there is no way to get the return on this kind of investment. There’s just no way to monetize this size of contract for Nike.”

While it was not surprising that Nike outbid Under Armour,
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“It was more telling to see how management in Under Armour responded to this by saying, ‘Look, we didn’t sign this guy, but this doesn’t mean that this is over,’ ” said Jason Moser, a senior analyst with Motley Fool One in Alexandria, Va. Under Armour is saying, “We’re going to be gunning for everyone we can that makes sense.”

Signing Bundchen, the world’s top earning supermodel and wife of fellow Under Armour endorser and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, also made sense.

Better known for Victoria’s Secret lingerie than sports bras, Bundchen will help open the women’s market on a global scale to consumers who think of Under Armour as a compression T shirt company, analysts said. She not only enjoys international celebrity status but crossover appeal in fashion and fitness.

“Clearly, Under Armour is trying to broaden the breadth and depth of its products, but it’s an aspect of really trying to ramp up the global nature of the business,” said Auburn Bell, an affiliate professor of marketing at Loyola University Maryland. “Under Armour is at an inflection point in its growth. as it relates to a lot of categories but they’ve realized internally that international growth is a needed part of the strategy.”

Bundchen will be followed in early 2015 by other well known women representing the company in “I Will What I Want,” expected to be a continuing campaign for Under Armour’s women’s business, said Leanne Fremar, senior vice president and executive creative director for Under Armour Women.

The company’s biggest ever women’s campaign, launched over the summer, also features downhill skier Lindsey Vonn, ballerina Misty Copeland and others. It includes an interactive digital component that allows women to track fitness plans, share stories and follow the athletes.

Like Copeland and Bundchen, shown sporting Under Armour attire during a kickboxing workout in an ad unveiled Thursday, the new faces could include other women who are not professional athletes, Fremar said, part of a strategy the company has embraced as it aims to expand its $500 million women’s business into a segment that will rival or exceed the core men’s business.

“We continue to pursue athletes and now athletic females who have incredible stories and are incredible trailblazers in their field,” Fremar said. “We’re looking for a diverse group of women, all of whom have incredible life stories and are willing to share them with Under Armour and our audience and the consumer.”

Plank also made promises about big future endorsements in his television interview.

Moser said Under Armour investors have to be “thrilled” that Plank “responded as a person with a focus on the long term success of the company.”

“They know this is an important piece of the puzzle getting known athletes under their umbrella,” Moser said. “This is just getting started and [they] will continue getting big names and will pay for them because it does work. What they want to find is a couple of those signings with names that can be brands within the brand.”

Under Armour likely will pursue some higher ranking NBA players as their endorsement contracts expire while keeping a watchful eye on emerging college players, who can be riskier but less costly, Bell said.

“It would have made a huge statement for them to get [Durant] but at the other end of that, there’s opportunity, and they’ll continue to look,” Bell said. “Sooner or later they’re going to land somebody.

“They sort of put the stake in the ground and stated their goal that they are interested in the category,
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” he said. “They want a part of the market share because it’s huge globally.”.

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Even Steph Curry can’t stop the retail swoon. Under Armour said Tuesday it would cut about 280 jobs, or 2% of its workforce, after reporting slower than expected sales in its second quarter and recasting revenue projections.

The sportswear company, known for its Curry branded shoe line and other big name athlete endorsements, says it expects net revenue to grow between 9% and 11% this year. That’s lower than its initial forecast of 11% to 12% growth. contributed to its revised forecast. Revenue outside of North America was up 57%, but just 0.3% in North America.

Related: Will Under Armour get a Steph Curry bump again?

The company also reported a net loss of $12.3 million. Although that’s less than the $52.6 million loss it reported during the same quarter last year,
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last year’s loss was driven entirely by a settlement with shareholders. The company otherwise would have reported a profit a year ago.

Under Armour has been trying to claw its way back from a bad 2016 when its stock dropped nearly 30% because of weak sales.

The sports apparel industry, like other retailers, has been hit hard in recent years. And Nike, a direct competitor, said in June that it would eliminate about 2% of its workforce.

Anthony Riva, an analyst at GlobalData Retail,
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said there are some positives for Under Armour. He said the company’s restructuring plan should help make it leaner and more efficient.

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Under Armour, which has wooed consumers with sweat wicking T shirts and other innovations, is banking on a new fabric that conforms to the foot like a second skin to help the company break into the crowded athletic shoe market.

The Baltimore based athletic wear maker is promoting its newly developed ClutchFit a lightweight, stretch material designed to move with the foot without bunching or binding as one of its latest innovations. And it’s betting the technology will revolutionize shoes across multiple sports and pay off in a bigger share of the booming footwear market.

But experts say it’s too soon to tell whether the latest footwear will boost the brand’s small but growing shoe business, a 13 percent piece of the company’s $2.3 billion in annual sales.

ClutchFit designed shoes began showing up in stores in March in this year’s version of Under Armour’s Highlight football cleats. Sports fans got a first look at the basketball shoes, to debut for the back to school season, when point guard Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors wore a pair during the NBA playoffs.

This month, the brand is rolling out the ClutchFit Force soccer cleat and Spine ClutchFit running shoe. A new metal baseball cleat, an attempt to get a bigger share of the high school athlete market, will be released during the MLB All Star Game this summer and in stores by August.

And ClutchFit’s hourglass patterned material also will make its way to base layer T shirts, leggings and shorts by August and to other apparel and accessories later, said Josh Rattet, Under Armour’s vice president of footwear for team sports.

“The premise behind ClutchFit is this revolutionary second skin kind of material that flexes under pressure,” with the ability to conform to the foot or body and become thicker, rather than thinner when stretched, Rattet said. “It really locks you in when it matters most and has the right amount of give when needed. This innovative product will definitely be involved in our future growth.”

“It doesn’t just fit you it fits how you move,” according to marketing materials for ClutchFit, which Under Armour began developing in its “innovation lab” nearly two years ago.

The material is among the new synthetic textiles emerging in the athletic footwear industry to replace the traditional shoe uppers of leather, canvas, nylon and cotton, said John Brilliant, founder and publisher of CounterKicks, a website that covers the sneaker industry.

Such textiles “have more advantageous performance benefits by not breaking down and wearing thin in high stress areas of the foot or sneaker as they have in the past,” Brilliant said in an email.

In what he called the new golden age of sneaker innovation, “Baltimore’s Under Armour is certainly a player.”

The launch of ClutchFit shoes follows Under Armour’s debut of its Speedform Apollo running shoe in February, an update of a version released last year as Under Armour tries to capture a bigger share of the running category dominated by larger brands such as Nike.

The updated Speedform has drawn a favorable response from retailers, said Sam Poser, an analyst with Sterne Agee in New York.

“We think the company will succeed in footwear,” Randal J. Konik, a New York based analyst for Jefferies, said in a report Thursday. “After many years of trial and error and limited success, we believe [Under Armour] is on the verge of a breakthrough with its Speedform,” which he said helped drive the company’s 41 percent increase in footwear sales in the first three months of the year.

Under Armour got its start in apparel and is much better known for it than footwear. It entered the shoe market in mid 2006 with football, baseball and softball cleats, but has sold non cleated shoes only since 2008, starting with training shoes, followed by running and basketball shoes. It continued the push into running last year with the first generation of Speedform.

Besides international growth and sales to women, Under Armour sees some of its greatest potential in the athletic footwear market. It has so far made only a dent, with a less than 2 percent share of a market dominated by rivals Nike, Reebok, Converse and others.

“We all know how competitive the market is, with [rival] brands 100 percent focused on negating our ability to grow,” Rattet said. Under Armour intends to boost its market share, he said, by “giving consumers an experience they are not currently getting. We’re going to be a significant player globally. appetite is there. The innovation pipeline is robust.”

Analysts said the company’s roots and skyrocketing growth in apparel give it the ability to capitalize on other growth areas, including footwear.

Though “they’re still gaining credibility in footwear, they’re working very methodically on trying to get stuff going,” Poser said. “They’ve done a good job in cleats, but on non cleated it’s still a work in progress.”
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If you want to be a player in the basketball shoe business, you need a star. And Under Armour hopes it found its man with the NBA’s Stephen Curry, who is about to lace up his very own Under Armour shoe.

The company, which only got into the basketball shoe business four years ago, officially announced the Curry One shoe on Thursday, marking one of Under Armour’s first big plays in the signature basketball shoe game. The shoe which will sell for $120 and hit stores on Feb. 13 will make its on court debut Friday night when Mr. Curry wears them for the first time as his Golden State Warriors take on the Cleveland Cavaliers at a home game on ESPN.

Cavs star LeBron James is a Nike endorser, so when the game was originally scheduled, it symbolically pitted Under Armour against its arch rival. But Mr. James is not expected to return to the court due to an injury for a few days.

Fast rising Under Armour, which was founded in 1996, has a goal of eventually toppling Nike to become the world’s top retail sports brand. But to even come close, Under Armour must make up serious ground in its basketball shoe business.

The sector accounts for just $20 million to $30 million in sales for the company, according to a recent report by Canaccord Genuity. That amounts to a fraction of the $3 billion in revenue the company is expected to record for 2014. Basketball “remains a significant opportunity but also has the biggest competitive hurdles to overcome considering [Nike] owns 95% of the market,” Canaccord Genuity stated.

The launch is “critically important to us,” said Roman Vega, Under Armour’s senior category director for basketball. “Basketball is a hyper competitive market and we know that as a category we have to be successful in that space.”

Under Armour first hooked up with a pro basketball player when it signed Brandon Jennings in 2008. In 2010, Under Armour came out with a signature shoe for the then Milwaukee Bucks player that is no longer sold at retail.

By partnering with the sharpshooting Mr. Curry, Under Armour is hitching itself to one of the fastest rising NBA stars. He currently ranks in the top 10 in scoring and is the second leading vote getter for the All Star Game, trailing Mr. James. “He’s having a phenomenal year and we’re really excited about that. And it doesn’t hurt that you see him on a nightly basis on TV on the highlights,” Mr. Vega said. “When we are able to partner with an athlete of his caliber, that really helps brings some authenticity and credibility to us as a footwear provider.”

Mr. Vega downplayed the potential Curry LeBron matchup as a coincidence. Perhaps it is, but everything else about the launch appears to be carefully calculated to build as much buzz as possible before the shoe hits stores in mid February.

An ad campaign for the shoe, including a TV spot, is expected to launch around the Feb. 15 All Star Game that will be played at Madison Square Garden. Before then, Under Armour is seeking to build what it calls “pre heat.” This week the company hosted an elaborate, multi day press event in the Bay Area for influential shoe trade reporters, known as “sneakerheads.” Invited guests included editors and reporters from such publications as KicksonFire, SneakerNews and WearTesters.

Press junkets are common in the shoe industry. But Under Armour dedicated considerable resources to its event in hopes of making as big a splash as possible. Appearances were planned for Mr. Curry and Dave Dombrow, Under Armour’s VP creative director for footwear, who led the shoe’s design. To run the event, the company hired Narrative, a digital marketing, entertainment and technology agency co founded by pioneering music executive Russell Simmons.

“We want to make sure we are coming guns blazing,” Mr. Vega said. Because “quite frankly some [trade press] may be skeptical We want to prove to them that yes, we are serious and we are here to stay and that we are going to be a vital competitor in this category for a long time.”

The centerpiece of the event was scheduled to occur Thursday at a Bay Area high school gym that Under Armour transformed into a “Curry One design studio.” Props included “a deconstructed Curry One,” shoe sketches and a “giant mood board” of images that inspired the shoe’s design, such as cars, rockets, animals and old photos of Mr. Curry, according to a schedule of events shared with Ad Age. The goal was to get away from “that typical press conference type of a setting,” Narrative co founder and CEO Tricia Clarke Stone said in an interview earlier this week.

The shoe itself includes design details that reference Mr. Curry, such as a lace loop scripted with “4:13,” which is a reference to one of Mr. Curry’s favorite Bible verses: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

The smartphones were also loaded with an electronic agenda for the event and special Google Maps that highlighted some of Mr. Curry’s Bay Area hangouts. The digital elements are a nod to the Bay Area’s tech reputation, as well as “leaning into Under Armour’s thirst for innovation,” Ms. Clark Stone said.

Even the food was branded: Under Armour planned to serve a “signature sandwich” named for Mr. Curry from Bay Area sandwich chain “Ike’s Place” containing turkey, “Steph’s Sweet Onion BBQ” and provolone cheese. Meanwhile, gift packs for the reporters included Sour Patch Kids, a favorite of Mr. Curry’s.

Under Armour also planned to host the reporters at Friday’s Cavs Warriors game. There’s only one thing the company could not guarantee: A Warrior’s win. Schultz is the Chicago Bureau Chief at Advertising Age and covers beverage, automotive and sports marketing. He is a former reporter for McClatchy newspapers, including the Fresno Bee, where he covered business and state government and politics, and the Island Packet in South Carolina. His journalism awards include a 2012 Jesse H. A native of Cincinnati, Mr. Schultz has an economics degree from Xavier University and a masters in journalism from Northwestern University.
ugg type boots Under Armour Has High Hopes for Stephen Curry Shoe

discounted uggs Under Armour exceeds expectations with 23 percent revenue increase in first quarter

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Under Armour launched a new marketing plan earlier this year, touting its up and coming athletes and most innovative products in an intense but short burst they called brand holiday. appears to have paid off.

The Baltimore based athletic apparel maker delivered better than expected financial results for the three months ended March 31.

Under Armour income of 7 cents per share income topped analysts consensus estimates of 3 cents a share as its revenue jumped 23 percent.

Shares of Under Armour closed at $56.41 a share, up 74 cents or 1.3 percent in New York Stock Exchange trading.

The company income did drop 47 percent, to $7.8 million in the January to March quarter from $14.7 million in the same period a year ago, but the company attributed that to the planned marketing expenditures.

Under Armour continues to work to broaden its brand appeal with consumers, focusing on women apparel and shoes. Davidson Co., a Montana based brokerage house. wasn one standout category. a conference call with analysts, Under Armour CEO and founder Kevin Plank attributed the growth to several factors, including the brand holiday and the Alter Ego line of gear, which revolves around comic book heroes and has sold well to adult men. An increase in the range of fleece offerings and the popularity of a new running shoe technology called Spine also pushed sales, he said.

Overall revenue increased 22 percent to $346 million from $283 million. Revenue from apparel, which accounts for 75 percent of Under Armour’s sales, increased more than 20 percent for the 14th straight quarter.

Yet company officials focused much of their discussion on growth in its much maligned footwear sector, where it saw a 27 percent increase in sales over 2012. Plank put co founder Kip Fulks in charge of footwear to re energize the effort,
discounted uggs Under Armour exceeds expectations with 23 percent revenue increase in first quarter
and prominently displayed the company full range of shoes in its new Brand House store in Harbor East.

Under Armour has built a faithful consumer following in the footwear areas it originally focused on, football and baseball cleats. Running and basketball shoes weren introduced until 2009 and 2010 respectively, and Plank said he feels those categories are heading on the same trajectory.

According to Matt Powell, an analyst with SportsOneSource, Under Armour sales of running shoes in March more than doubled but still only represented 2.8 percent of the total market. Under Armour has 19 percent of the cleat market, Powell said, and just 0.4 percent of the basketball market. Plank said the company is focused on establishing its with basketball players before expanding the line.

over time the shoe performance has been disappointing, Burns said. they have the right approach. They not going to win with Nike playbook. They don have Nike resources. This is a better plan. dubbed the new Brand House a success, saying it had helped the company understand what customers wanted.

Analysts pressed Plank to discuss the company strategy outside of the United States, where its growth has been slow.

Burns, who upgraded the stock earlier this week based on the spread of new product offerings, said he believes Under Armour won see significant growth internationally until 2015. While Under Armour earned a strong reputation by creating the compression market in the United States, Nike and Adidas were able to introduce that gear to the rest of the world.

Plank said he hoped Under Armour had reached a point in Europe, and said the company needed to continue investing in its international operations with the goal of the Under Armour business from being a North American company who simply selling products in other countries to truly embracing being an international company.
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