Under Armour Inc. delivered first-quarter profits and sales that showed just how important basketball player Stephen Curry is to the brand.
Net income for the quarter increased 63 percent to $19 million, or 4 cents a diluted share, up from $12 million, or 3 cents, a year ago. This beat the FactSet estimate of 2 cents a diluted share. That helped pushed the stock up over 6 percent to close the day at $46.93. 3 percent to $47.02 in early trading.
Net revenues for the three months ending March 31 increased 30 percent to $1.05 billion from $805 million a year earlier. The FactSet estimate was for$1.04 billion. Footwear net revenues jumped 64 percent to $264 million from last year’s $161 million and most of that gain was attributed to the success of the Stephen Curry signature basketball line. Apparel net revenues increased 20 percent to $667 million compared to $555 million from last year.
“We believe the beat-and-raise story will continue to play out in 2016 as the increased guidance will once again prove conservative given the footwear opportunity, international expansion opportunities and the DTC execution,” said Susan Anderson of FBR & Co. She has an outperform rating on the company.
“The strong results posted this quarter truly demonstrate the balanced growth of our brand across product categories, channels and geographies,” chief executive officer Kevin Plank said. “In footwear, this includes the remarkable success of the Stephen Curry signature basketball line, as well as the exciting launches of our first smart running shoe and our new line of Jordan Spieth-inspired golf shoes.”
On the company’s earnings conference call, Plank said sales of the Curry Two Footwear line accounted for nearly one-third of the overall business in China and was the company’s top seller online. The Curry Two.5 will be released during the NBA playoffs through Foot Locker and its own e-commerce channel. It will be launched globally in July and in the fall Under Armour will release the Curry Three.
Under Amour couldn’t have picked a better time to have signed Curry. The league’s reigning MVP just ended the regular season with a record 402 3-pointers. His team the Golden State Warriors also broke the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls record of 72 wins, tallying 73 victories this year.
Plank said on the earnings call that the women’s business would surpass $1 billion. He also said that the women’s e-commerce growth rate outpaces growth on the men’s side. Under Armour has added 275 women’s departments this year in stores like Macy’s, Bon-Ton and Bloomingdale’s. “We believe innovation with new fabrics such as Coolswitch and Microthread should help sustain momentum in women’s business,” said Betty Chen, an analyst at Mizuho Securities USA Inc. Chen has a buy rating on Under Armour and a $52 price target.
Gross margins dipped slightly to 45.9 percent from last year’s 46.9 percent. The drop was blamed on higher liquidations and foreign currency exchange.
Under Armour reported 20 percent plus growth in apparel for the twenty-fourth consecutive quarter. However, Matthew Boss, an analyst with J.P. Morgan noted that this was the lowest “2-year stack since 3Q10.” He felt that the bankruptcy at The Sports Authority was probably the blame. The Sports Authority was one of Under Amour’s largest partners. Boss, who has a neutral rating on the stock, also pointed out that inventories at the end of the first quarter were up 44 percent versus total sales growth of 30 percent. He thinks that $52 is a good price for the stock.
Lindsey Drucker of Goldman Sachs also highlighted the gap between sales and inventory, but she thought the gross margins were better than she had expected. She also has a neutral rating on the stock. “We expect shares to trade positively on the sales beat and guidance raise, especially in light of increased concerns about apparel heading into the quarter,” said Drucker.
With regards to the increased inventory, Under Armour did state that the inventory rose in order to improve wholesale customer service levels. Chief financial officer Chip Malloy said that growth and inventory would be more in line with sales as they begin to anniversary the strategy during the second quarter of the year.
Looking ahead, Under Armour forecast 2016 net revenues to be about $5 billion, which would demonstrate growth of 26 percent over 2015. This isalso an increase over the previous forecast of $4.95 billion. Under Armour said it has 11,000 points of retail distribution and noted that one of its competitors (read – Nike, Inc.) has 24,000 points of distribution. Plank clearly has his eyes set on that number and sees it as “a tremendous runway for us as we think about the opportunity in front of us.”
The stock has had a roller-coaster year, but in the last three months has gained 27 percent.