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Business Consuming Interests

Under Armour joins rival Nike in 'annihilating' competition, analyst says

It is a good time to be in the athletic apparel business -- especially if you are Under Armour or Nike.

Sales of athletic wear have gone up along with the temperatures, about 8 percent over the last four weeks, Sterne Agee analyst Sam Poser said in a report Thursday.

But Baltimore-based Under Armour and Nike have far outpaced overall sales gains, leading the way with increases of 30 percent and 23 percent, respectively, Poser said, citing information from SportscanInfo.

Women in particular are demanding workout wear, with active tights/capris flying out real and virtual doors and spurring gains of 79 percent for both brands.

"Nike and Under Armour...are annihilating the competition," Poser said.

The numbers show it; Adidas, Russell and Champion apparel sales are down, 25 percent, 49 percent and 35 percent, respectively, over the last four weeks, he said.

Nike snagged 32 percent of the total apparel sales while Under Armour grabbed 17 percent of the share. Retailers Dick's Sporting Goods and Hibbert are expected to benefit in a big way, Poser said.

Nike outpaced Under Armour in the sales gains thanks to a huge boost in athletic wear in mid-tier department stores, where Nike sells nearly a quarter of its apparel but where Under Armour does not distribute goods, Poser said. Nike also saw especially strong sales of basketball shorts and other basketball attire.

Here's a more detailed breakdown of Under Armour's last-four-week apparel sales: Men's apparel was driven by a 27 percent jump in active shirts and tops, a 21 percent gain in undergarments and a whopping 127 percent leap in sportswear tops and bottoms.

On the women's side, Under Armour saw sales of active shirts and tops jump 35 percent and sales of active shorts and bottoms grow 33 percent. Driving those big gains was the 79 percent leap in tights and capris sales.

"We attribute much of the increase to increased space allocation at many sporting goods retailers," Poser said. "Between the strength of undergarments and bottom sales, we are confident that both Nike and UA are beginning to take share from many other women's fitness brands and retailers."

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

 

 

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