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Under Armour Expands Women’s Reach

The Performance Brand Targets "Miss Train To Maintain" With Spring Launch.

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After creating a performance niche with men and team athletes, Under Armour is pursuing adult women. The brand is launching a women’s fitness-focused, collection-driven line for spring.

Under Armour began in the women’s business with what it dubbed the Team Girl line for high school and college athletes in 2003. Now the company is aiming for the woman it calls Miss Train to Maintain, young professionals, age 22 to 40, who work out three to five times a week to tone and stay healthy.

“When I joined Under Armour in January, I perceived women’s as the low-hanging fruit here and the most significant growth opportunity for the brand,” said Suzanne Karkus, senior vice president of apparel, who had been president of Izod women’s. “Our women’s business, which is currently about 25 percent of our sales, is outperforming men’s on a percentage basis, which sets us up for growth in 2009.”

Karkus projects that the line, which wholesales for $20 to $37.50, will sell to about half — an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 — of Under Armour’s sporting goods channel doors, like Dick’s Sporting Goods, in its first season and then grow. She added that the new line will likely be a bigger business than the Team Girl business in short order.

“Our business began in women’s with a real focus on the Team Girl, a high school or college athlete, and now we are evolving the line so we keep Team Girl as she grows up, as well as broaden our consumer base,” Karkus said.

The company already has a line for the adult man, whom it defines as the “jock on the clock training to remember his glory days.” The new women’s line is focused on in-gym activities, from weight training to group classes.

“Whereas the Team Girl offerings are much more basic training pieces, our fitness collection was inspired by a focus on fit, style and performance, with pattern, prints and color that take us a significant step forward in how we refresh the floors on a monthly basis,” Karkus said. “We still have all the DNA that makes Under Armour great, but in addition to that, we have a focus on a collection-based product so tops work with bottoms, because we know women are really attracted to outfits.”

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