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Under Armour's shoes are not cool right now



Under Armor sports shoes on screen.

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During Armor & # 39; s sales in the third quarter, they may have exceeded expectations, but an outstanding shortcoming on Monday's release was the company's shoe sales.

Under Armor said footwear revenue dropped 12% to $ 250.6 million from $ 284.9 million a year ago.

During a conference call with analysts, the company admitted that the results were "lower than planned." It said it still expects footwear business to be up this year. It said shoe sales for the third quarter were hit, in part due to fewer purchases through off-price channels, which it has been actively trying to pull off some products.

"I think this is part of the process we have had in marketing [strategy] to really set up this funnel for technology and innovation …" CEO Kevin Plank said of Under Armor's footwear business. He called the Curry and Rock products and HOVR cushioning technology as bright spots. "To build product for [athletes] that will help them train, compete and recover, will really be our difference, I think."

Still, the majority of buyers seem to agree differently with their wallets as they look for shoes. And it shows.

Fashion forward shoe brands such as Fila, Puma, Athletic Propulsion Labs and Vans have increased in popularity. Adidas and Nike have teamed up with singers Kanye West and Beyonce, and designer Virgil Abloh, to create more stylish sneakers, is not necessarily meant to be used in sports.

Instead, Under Armor has maintained its focus on "performance." And it damages the brand.

"For the past four years, each category of performance footwear has had a negative trend … running, basketball, training," said NPD Group analyst Matt Powell. "We are very much in a leisure cycle today. To wear sports-inspired products, but have no intention of using them for sports."

It doesn't seem to be changing any time soon, either, Powell said. "There are no short-term indications that performance is back in fashion."

Plank on Monday's talk talked about what it was like to "adjust" from a clothing company to a business that also sells shoes. When Under Armor started in 1

996, it only sold sweat-wicking shirts. "The investment we have made [in footwear] is extraordinary, and we shall now run," he said. "Frankly, [it has] took us 15 years to get to this point."

Plank said to expect more innovation in the category moving forward. Time will tell if Under Armor can make your shoes cool again.

Under Armor shares fell more than 14% Monday morning, after the company confirmed Sunday that it faces a federal probe of its accounting practice. Nike's shares increased by about 1.5%. Lululemon shares fell 1.4%.


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