The Armoury What's new with Baltimore sports apparel maker Under Armour

Analyst predicts success for Under Armour's Curry 4 sneaker

Under Armour could rebound from a difficult year with the help of the latest sneaker launch from superstar NBA player Stephen Curry, one Wall Street firm says.

Jefferies analyst Randal J. Konik, who’s keeping a buy rating on the Baltimore sports apparel maker’s shares, believes the new Curry 4 will be a “resounding success.”

In a report Tuesday, Konik praised Under Armour’s strategy of launching several designs of the Curry 4 in phases and limiting distribution and colors.

“With competitor products aging, we believe Curry 4 will become the No. 1 sneaker in basketball this year, which should also help Under Armour shares rebound,” Konik said.

Under Armour stock has plummeted more than 46 percent this year. After years of rapid growth, the brand reported its second straight quarterly loss in August and said it was cutting about 280 jobs — 2 percent of its global workforce — as part of a restructuring to adapt to changes in the market.

The last Curry shoe launch, the Curry 3, had been disappointing, with Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank citing a sluggish signature market and weak consumer reception.

But Konik sees a turnaround on the horizon. Evidence from store visits, social media analysis and a review of the pricing markups of the sneakers on the secondary market all point to “strong buzz” in the market, he said. On Instagram, Curry 4 was hashtagged more than 5,000 times — and that’s before the official launch set for Oct. 27.

Curry, point guard for the Golden State Warriors, debuted his fourth signature shoe on June 1 during Game 1 of the NBA Finals, on the way to the team’s second NBA championship in three years. The ”More Magic,” inspired by neon lights of of Shanghai, was offered for sale Oct. 7 in limited pairs across China, with some available at stores in California and at Under Armour Brand House stores in Boston and Chicago, selling for $130. This week, the brand launched the limited edition Curry 4 “More Rings” Championship Pack in time for the first day of the NBA season Tuesday, which included two Curry shoes, two pairs of Stance socks, a golf divot tool and a signed letter from Curry.

The “Championship Pack” bundles were “impossible to get,” with only a handful of stores and Under Armour’s websites offering just 200 to 250 packs, Konik said. Under Armour confirmed the packs sold out at Foot Locker on West 34th Street in New York, at Shoe Palace in Oakland, Calif., at Champs in Chicago, through a Finish Line digital app and on Under Armour’s website.

At Foot Locker in New York, “a crowd lined up trying to score this coveted pack, but we and others were turned away,” and the few pairs available on an Under Armour app sold out within minutes, Konik said.

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad