Under Armour is proving its mettle as an apparel warrior. The maker of performance athletic undies and clothing has risen to the top of the industry pack, boasting a big portion of the compression garment market. It is gaining a foothold in footwear, too. Under Armour is the official footwear supplier of the NFL and MLB and partners with the NBA. Specializing in sport-specific garments, it dresses its consumers from head to toe. Products, made from its moisture-wicking and heat-dispersing fabrics, keep athletes dry and relatively comfortable during workouts. Under Armour sells its wares online, by catalog, through its own 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 three-fourths of sales. Footwear and accessories such as hats, bags, and gloves contribute about 15% and 10%, respectively.
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 90% of sales, Under Armour's products are sold primarily in Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK. It sells its wares in Japan and Korea, as well, through a third-party licensee.
Sales and Marketing
Under Armour generates nearly 70% 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. The company's direct-to-consumer business is also growing rapidly -- Under Armour operates about 130 of its own factory outlet and specialty stores.
Under Armour has shown strong growth in both revenue and net income over the past decade, with 2014 sales of $3 billion, 32% higher than the prior year. The company saw growth in all categories (apparel, footwear, accessories), as well as in licensing. The results were powered by an increase in direct-to-consumer sales and a 108% uptick in foreign sales. Net income that year rose nearly 30% to about $208 million on the strength of revenue.
After a couple of years of fluctuations, cash from operations ticked up 82% to $219 million due to the increase in net income.
Under Armour is working to double its business by 2016 with more business outside North America than inside. 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.
New products and product innovation is also a strategic focus for Under Armour. Recent product launches include COLDGEAR Infrared, designed to help wearers stay warmer longer in cold weather, and UA SpeedForm Apollo running shoes. In addition, the company has been spending heavily on wearable technology -- what it is calling Connected Fitness -- by opening a digital headquarters in Austin, Texas, and building and buying digital fitness apps and companies.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In late 2013 Under Armour acquired fitness-tracking firm MapMyFitness for $150 million as it seeks to expand into the growing fitness technology market. It was the company's first acquisition. Two years later it expanded the effort with the purchases of MyFitnessPal, a nutrition counter and fitness app, for $474 million and Endmondo, a Denmark-based fitness tracking and social fitness network, for about $85 million.