Plank: Under Armour plans to double growth in next three years

New apparel, sales at factory stores and on Internet to help

June 09, 2011|By Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun

It took Under Armour 15 years to become a billion-dollar sports apparel company. It doesn't plan to take things so slowly anymore.

President and CEO Kevin Plank told investors and analysts Thursday that the Baltimore-based company's goal is to double growth in the next three years to more than $2 billion.

Plank said the increase would be driven by apparel sales and its direct-to-consumer business, which includes e-commerce and sales from company-owned retail stores. They will also raise prices on some items to offset the rising cost of materials used in their production.

He outlined the aggressive goals during Investor Day at the company's Tide Point headquarters. More than 80 investors and analysts came to town to get a briefing on the company's plans.

"We are building access to the brand that will drive meaningful growth for years to come," Plank told the crowd.

It was Under Armour's second Investor Day since becoming a publicly traded company in 2005. The five-hour event included presentations from several executives, who gave a glimpse into new products and business ventures Under Armour plans to undertake — and that they said will help drive growth.

The executives said continuing to add fresh new products will keep old consumers coming to the brand and attract new ones as well.

"Innovation is core to our DNA," said Henry Stafford, senior vice president of apparel. "It is the engine to our growth."

The company plans to introduce in the fall a fleece sweatshirt that doesn't get wet — analysts were invited onstage to throw water on models wearing the shirts; the water rolled right off.

Also planned are shirts and shorts that better absorb the sun's ultraviolet and infrared rays so that the wearer doesn't get hot as quickly. The company hopes the products, dubbed the "Cold Black" line, will be popular with golfers, runners and people on the West Coast who spend many hours in the sun.

Underwear will also be a driver for growth, executives hope. In the spring of next year, the company will begin selling the undergarments, with the same sweat-wicking abilities as its other products, in 600 department stores.

The company also wants to expand the number of places where people can buy their products. Direct-to-consumer sales were 23 percent of revenue in 2010, and the company projects that to increase to 30 percent by 2013.

Under Armour plans to expand the number of outlet stores from the current 72 to an eventual 120. The company also is planning to open its first hybrid store in October, combining the new products it features at its four full-price stores with the discounted apparel it sells at the outlets.

After a rough start, the company will start rolling out its revamped footwear line this year. The company has been in rebuilding mode after several models of its shoes didn't sell as well as expected. Executives don't expect footwear to impact revenue until 2013, bringing some questions from analysts at Thursday's event.

Plank said it was important that the company take the time it needed to develop the line.

"This doesn't mean that we don't get it and don't know footwear," he said.

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