SBD/May 14, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Under Armour's Plank Acknowledges Sochi Speedskating Issue During Shareholder Meeting

Plank said men's apparel accounts for the largest portion of UA's business
Under Armour Chair & CEO Kevin Plank "didn't hide the company's blunders" during yesterday's annual shareholders meeting, but instead "highlighted them," according to Sarah Meehan of the BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL. In a video he called the "brand voice," Plank "showed shareholders some of Under Armour's defining moments from the last six months," but the video also "didn't leave out Under Armour's Olympic speedskating debacle" at the ’14 Sochi Games. Plank then "tracked the company’s growth" from $17,000 in revenue its first year in business in '96 to $2.33B in '13. He also "ran through the company's five main growth drivers -- men's apparel, women's apparel, footwear, direct-to-consumer sales and international sales -- and explained how each will propel" the company into the future. Plank said that men's apparel "accounts for the largest portion" of UA's business. He also said that UA is "working to perfect" the company's running and training shoes. Plank added, "We're not launching any new categories now." He said that UA's business in China "will triple this year" and that UA's "brand awareness in Germany and France doubled," as int'l sales accounted for only 9% of the total revenue last year. Ravens DT Haloti Ngata "made an appearance at the end of the meeting" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 5/13).

STRONG & RISING: In Baltimore, Lorraine Mirabella writes Plank is "far from alone in believing the relatively young Baltimore-based company has a shot at becoming the world's biggest sports brand." Shares of UA "have soared" 65% in the past year. The company is "looking to take market share from bigger rivals" such as Nike and adidas by "targeting the women's sports apparel and footwear markets, opening dozens of its own retail outlets and spreading its brand slowly but surely around the globe." After 16 consecutive quarters of sales gains of 20% or more, UA "anticipates nearly" $3B in sales for '14. Mirabella notes UA "envisions sales to women," now a $500M segment, "surpassing" the $1B men's category someday. UA this summer will "kick off a marketing campaign to female consumers" featuring ballerina Misty Copeland. Plank yesterday said UA has yet to develop its "defining product as a brand" (Baltimore SUN, 5/14).
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