Under Armour stock gets neutral investment rating, misses athleisure trend
Investment firm Wedbush Securities has given Under Armour a neutral rating, citing the company's failure to jump on board the athleisure trend as a source of weakness.
Wedbush analyst Christopher Svezia accurately pointed out that UA's technical product offerings were out of touch with the athleisure clothing products consumers want. Svezia specifically questioned UA's "ability to return to its former glory."
CEO Kevin Plank has acknowledged the company missed the athleisure trend. Focusing on technical performance product and logos, Under Armour missed a huge market opportunity to blend sport with fashion in the world of athleisure.
Plank acknowledged, "We need to become more fashion. The consumer wants it all. They want product that looks great, that wears great, that you can wear at night with a pair of jeans, but that also does perform for them."
This is the crux of lifestyle product, which makes up only about 5% of Under Armour's current sales.
In an effort to try to play catch up with Nike and Lululemon, UA launched Under Armour Sportswear last year in partnership with designer Tim Coppens. Unfortunately, UA missed again with $1,500 trench coats that did not speak to its mass market consumers or the high end fashion consumer it likely was meant to attract.
As Nike continues to partner with the right brands and fashion designers, Under Armour is faced with a large challenge of how to win business in athleisure. UA faces further difficulty getting to the consumer as it relied heavily on its partnership with now defunct Sports Authority. It now partners with Kohl's, but with 80% of the brand's online sales coming from North America, UA has to significantly bump up its athleisure offerings to give the consumer what they want.
As Svezia noted, "It will take years for the category to have a measurable impact to the company with potential starts and stops along the way as lifestyle requires more trial and error and sample testing than core basic technical gear."
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