Under Armour’s stock jumped by more than 22.5 percent Thursday after the athletic apparel brand reported its first $1 billion quarter of sales and shook off the warm winter blues that hurt other apparel companies.
The company’s shares closed $84 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Third-quarter sales of $1.17 billion topped the FactSet expectations of $1.11 billion in net revenues, an increase of 31 percent over last year’s $895 million for the same period. Earnings per share of 48 cents beat the consensus of 46 cents. Net income increased 21 percent to $106 million for the third quarter compared to $88 million last year.
Analysts were convinced the company would be hurt by the warm weather so far this winter and Morgan Stanley analysts even cut their rating on the company to “underweight” on Jan. 11. They were wrong.
Kevin Plank chairman and chief executive officer of Under Armour Inc., stated, “Our business is more diversified than it’s ever been. We do not let weather play a decisive role in dictating our success.”
However, on the earnings conference call, Brad Dickerson, the outgoing chief financial officer, conceded “recent weather trends have led to some excess inventory creation, which will continue to work across our normal liquidation channels during the first half of 2016.” The company insisted any weather hits were minor.
Apparel net revenues rose 22 percent to $865 million, while footwear net revenues increased 95 percent to $167 million, mostly due to the Stephen Curry signature basketball line. Plank said, “The sell-through on the Curry shoe was like nothing we have ever seen before.”
Under Armour has also made a firm commitment to women’s business. Dickerson said, “We believe we have huge opportunities to get better.” Even without that focused attention, the company delivered another quarter of double-digit growth in women’s.
As recently as 18 months ago, the company didn’t have a dedicated women’s team. Dickerson said, “So, these investments in our team, they all mean that these trends are expected to accelerate in 2016 and again, that’s off a whopping 95 percent in the quarter and 57 percent for the full year.” Under Armour’s e-commerce business for women was the number-one and largest-selling and fastest-growing category at the company.
Andrew Burns, an analyst at D.A. Davidson who has a “buy” rating on the company’s stock, believes that Under Armour isn’t necessarily taking share from Nike, but rather from other apparel categories. “Consumers have hit a point where they aren’t going back to uncomfortable clothes anymore,” said Burns. “For every point of market share that athletic gets, $10 billion is being taken away from the rest of the apparel industry.”
Plank said, “Our core business remains incredibly strong and our 31 percent net revenue growth in the fourth quarter is clear evidence of the continued expansion in the breadth and depth of our brand. We delivered our 25th consecutive quarter of more than 20 percent net revenues growth in our largest product category of apparel.”
Investments in technology impacted the balance sheet. Total debt mushroomed from $284 million at the end of 2014 to $669 million at the end of 2015, reflecting the borrowing to fund the two Connected Fitness acquisitions. Cash plunged from $593 million at the end of 2014 to $130 million at the end of 2015.
“In Connected Fitness, we ended 2015 with nearly 160 million unique registered users across our platform that logged nearly eight billion foods and two billion activities during the year. Earlier this month at the Consumer Electronics Show, we unveiled the new UA Record, the digital dashboard app for your health and fitness, and a suite of new products led by Under Armour HealthBox, the world’s first complete Connected Fitness system,” Plank said.
“Innovation drives growth,” said Burns. He also believes that the company has even more growth ahead. “They’re underpenetrated in department stores. They have so much more opportunity.”
Looking ahead, Under Armour expects 2016 net revenues of $4.95 billion, an increase of 25 percent over 2015. Operating income is forecast at $503 million, which is a 23 percent jump over 2015.
Under Armour is celebrating its 20th year as a company in 2016 and has evolved as an athletic brand. The company realizes that a whole new generation doesn’t see them as the underdog to Nike, but as a long-lasting brand. Apparel has gone from 93 percent of revenues to 71 percent as the firm has diversified into other products such as footwear. Compression gear has dropped from 64 percent of the entire business to less than 10 percent. A decade ago, the company sold no footwear and now the category represents 17 percent of the business and is closing in on $700 million in revenues.
Under Armour opened five new Brand Houses in 2015 and will add another five to eight in 2016.