Under Armour is proving its mettle as an apparel warrior. The maker of performance athletic clothing and technology has risen to the top tier of the industry in clothing athletes and active consumers from head to toe. Under Armour is the official footwear supplier of the NFL and MLB and partners with the NBA. Its locker room of athlete endorsers include top performers in football, basketball, soccer, and baseball. Products, made from its moisture-wicking and heat-dispersing fabrics, keep athletes dry and relatively comfortable during workouts. The company is adding technology to apparel to help customers track their fitness. Under Armour sells online, by catalog, through its own retail and outlet stores, and in more than 25,000 retail stores worldwide.
Apparel designed for winter (COLDGEAR), summer (HEATGEAR), and year-round (ALLSEASONGEAR) wear accounts for about 71% of sales. Footwear runs in about 17% with accessories such as hats, bags, and gloves contributing 9%. The company's fledgling connected fitness business generated 1% of revenue in 2015.
Almost all of Under Armour's products are made by third party manufacturers in 16 countries. Some 63% of the company's producs are made in China, Jordan, Vietnam, and Indonesia
Headquartered in Baltimore, Under Armour operates its business globally. It has European and Asian subsidiaries, and sources from suppliers worldwide. Besides North America, where it generates about 87% of sales, Under Armour's products are sold primarily in Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK. It sells in Japan and Korea, as well, through a third-party licensee.
Sales and Marketing
Under Armour generates about tw0-thirds of its sales through its wholesale business. Its customers include the likes of Cabela's and the Army and Air Force Exchange, as well as The Sports Authority and Dick's Sporting Goods; the latter accounted for 14% of Under Armour's 2014 revenue. Under Armour reckoned that the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Sports Authority in late 2015 would not materially affect it.
The company's direct-to-consumer business is also growing rapidly -- Under Armour operates about 130 of its own factory outlet and specialty stores. The company has opened at least half a dozens brand stores in cities such as Baltimore, Chicago, and New York City. Many of the company stores are going in Class A malls throughout the US. Some international locations are being targeted as well.
Under Armour bumped up its advertising budget to $418 million in 2015 from $333 million in 2014.
Under Armour has shown strong growth in revenue and net income over the past decade. Sales closed in on $4 billion in 2015, 28% higher than the prior year. The increase came from new offerings in multiple lines led by training, golf, and running. Footwear stepped up, led by the running and basketball categories and expansion of its footwear footprint internationally. Net income in 2015 rose 12% on the strength of revenue.
The company had a negative cash flow of $44 million in 2015 after generating $219 million in cash flow in 2014. Besides changes in inventories to meet seasonal demands, the company increased spending on corporate purposes and to expand its SAP platform in connection with the connected and digital fitness programs.
Under Armour is working to increase revenue with more business outside North America. The company has been opening direct sales channels in several South American companies, expanding in China, and partnering with football (soccer) teams in Europe and South America.
The company sees a longer term play in its connected fitness category. That segment's revenue increased 178% in 2015 from 2014, though it plays a minuscule role in overall revenue. But Under Armour seeks to expand the wearables market beyond wristwear to clothing embedded with sensors that track fitness metrics for world-class athletes and people out for a walk. The company digital fitness center in Austin, Texas is expected to play a key role in those developments.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2015, Under Armour continued its connected fitness investment with the acquisition of MyFitnessPal, a digital nutrition and connected fitness firm, for $474 million. Another 2015 deal was the acquisition of Endomondo, a Denmark-based fitness tracking and social fitness network, for about $85 million.