Stephanie Pugliese

Under Armour has snagged the chief executive officer of Duluth Trading Co. to join its team as president of North America.

Stephanie Pugliese, who has more than 25 years experience in branded apparel and retail, will report to Under Armour president and chief operating officer Patrik Frisk. She will start on or about Sept. 16.

She succeeds Jason LaRose, who departed the company in April to become ceo of Equinox Media in New York. His departure from Under Armour came amid continued struggles within the North American region. In July, the company reported North American sales sell 3 percent in the second quarter to $816 million and said the situation isn’t expected to significantly improve in the second half. The region accounts for about two-thirds of the group’s overall business.

Frisk, who has been overseeing the region since LaRose’s departure last spring, said at the time that the number reflected declines in both wholesale and direct-to-consumer channels. Regarding wholesale, Frisk said the company is intentionally cutting back on distribution to reduce off-price sales while it also works to “reset” the brand’s retail stores toward more “full-priced selling.”

On Thursday, Frisk said of Pugliese: “Her demonstrated record of leadership and retail expertise significantly strengthens our ability to further amplify Under Armour as the preeminent athletic performance brand in our home market.”

He reiterated that the company’s strategy in North America “continues to be centered on three main elements: a focus on premium, full-price distribution to protect the Under Armour brand; deepening the connection with our consumers, and an unrelenting prioritization around operational excellence. It is leadership that ultimately brings these elements into alignment and gives us increasing confidence in our ability to build an even more powerful brand while increasing long-term, shareholder return.”

Pugliese has been with Duluth Trading Co. since 2008, holding executive positions in product development, merchandising and marketing before assuming the role of president in 2012. She was elevated to ceo in 2015 and helped lead the company through its initial public offering. She also served as a member of Duluth Trading Co.’s board of directors. Earlier in her career, Pugliese held several executive positions with Lands’ End Inc. and Ann Inc.

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