Analyst says Under Armour missing the mark on fashion and design ahead of earnings announcement

As Under Armour works through a turnaround plan, the brand is struggling to hold onto customers and keep up a flow of innovative, stylish apparel and footwear, one analyst said Wednesday.

The Baltimore sports apparel maker is set to release first quarter financial results Thursday, when Wall Street expects earnings to break even and sales to dip 0.3 percent to $1.8 billion.


In a report Wednesday, analyst Camilo Lyon maintained his sell rating on the stock and outlined concerns about continued weakening demand in the brand’s primary U.S. market.

Under Armour “will likely keep the full year outlook unchanged, for now, irrespective of the many signs in the market that point to deepening challenges such as… losing shelf space, losing key members of its management team, and losing appeal with its core customer,” the Canacccord Genuity analyst wrote in the report.

Under Armour's hed of North America, Jason LaRose, is leaving the apparel maker at the end of the month, the company said in a filing Thursday.

Signs point to deteriorating business, Lyon said. He believes the recent departure of executive Jason LaRose means the brand is continuing to struggle in the United States and could continue to do so for a while. LaRose, former president of the North America division, left the company Tuesday, Under Armour had reported. Lyon also noted that Dave Dombrow, former chief design officer, left Under Armour shortly after the company’s investor day in December.

Dombrow’s “sudden” departure “also supports our contention that [Under Armour’s] product is lacking in every way — fashion, innovation, and design,” Lyon said.

The brand could have a difficult time reaching its target of 3 percent to 4 percent growth this year, Lyon said, given shrinking space in the sporting goods retail channel and a weak product pipeline.

“Overall, we continue to believe that [Under Armour’s] road to recovery is going to be longer and bumpier than what the market is pricing in,” he said.

Under Armour shares closed Wednesday at $19.68 each, down $1.04 or 5% for the day, but still higher than it’s been most of the year.

Under Armour stock leapt Tuesday morning after the Baltimore-based athletic brand reported sales and profits that beat expectations and said its turnaround plan is working.

In February, Under Armour reported fourth quarter sales and profits that beat expectations and said its turnaround plan is working. The brand highlighted new product releases such as its HOVR running shoe line and said it’s seen success with its Project Rock, Unstoppable and women’s collections as well as its line of signature basketball shoes promoted by NBA star Stephen Curry.


During a conference call with analysts, Under Armour President Patrik Frisk said that selling wholesale to retailers makes up the bulk of the U.S. business.

“When you’ve lost space on the shelf, you have to earn it back, and it takes a little bit of time and that’s really what you’re seeing,” Frisk had said. “Trust is kind of earned, so you’ve got to earn it back, you’ve got to fight your way back on to the shelf.”