Under Armour Takes a Breather

BALTIMORE (AP) — Under Armour had one of the worst trading days in its history as investors sensed that the hard-charging athletic company may be hitting the wall.

The company reported Tuesday that quarterly revenue growth was the slowest in six years and it trimmed growth projections.

Chief Financial Officer Chip Molloy said that while Under Armour continues to believe that it will significantly outpace rivals, “the growth rate going forward will be less than” what was anticipated last year.

The Baltimore company was stripped of its ‘buy’ rating at Stifel Nicolaus and analyst Jim Duffy cut his target price, citing margin pressure.

“While revenue growth remains strong (expectations for low-twenties growth in both 2017 and 2018, mix drag to gross margin and heightened investment in infrastructure (international and digital) and sports marketing are resulting in margin compression,” Duffy wrote.

Class A shares of Under Armour Inc., which have voting power, tumbled 14 percent, the severest decline in eight years.

Under Amour is locked in a fight for sports dominance with longtime king of the hill, Nike. They have spent heavily on promotions and that has cost both companies, at least in the short term.

Gross margins at Under Armour slipped to 47.5 percent in the quarter, compared with 48.8 percent last year. Nike reported gross margins had slipped from 47.5 percent last year, to 45.5 percent, when it reported its most recent quarterly results in late September.

For the period ended Sept. 30, Under Armour earned $128.2 million, or 29 cents per share, which was 4 cents better than Wall Street had expected, and topped last year’s $100.5 million, or 23 cents per share.

Revenue rose to $1.47 billion, from $1.2 billion, thanks to strong shoe sales and strong growth overseas. That also beat the $1.45 billion in revenue Wall Street had expected, according to analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.

International sales, which made up 15 percent of total revenue for the quarter, surged 74 percent. North American sales climbed 16 percent.

Shoe sales jumped 42 percent, driven by strong growth in running and basketball. Clothing sales and accessories sales both climbed 18 percent.

However, Under Armour’s quarterly revenue growth of 22 percent was the slowest it’s been since 2010.

Under Armour stuck to its full-year projections for revenue of $4.93 billion, which is about the same as the projections from industry analysts.

Shares of Nike Inc. are down 19 percent this year. They have been outpaced by Under Armour, down 22 percent.


Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on UA at http://www.zacks.com/ap/UA


Keywords: Under Armour, Earnings Report

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