Under Armour slashes full-year outlook, sending shares tumbling

Key Points
  • Under Armour reduced its full-year sales expectations, "reflecting lower North American demand and operational challenges."
  • The company also slashed its 2017 earnings-per-share forecast.
  • Under Armour shares have fallen more than 50 percent in 2017.
Under Armour shares drop sharply as full-year guidance falls short of estimates
Under Armour shares drop sharply as full-year guidance falls short of estimates

Weaker demand for Under Armour products across the U.S. and Canada is clearly hurting the athletic apparel retailer.

The company trimmed its profit and revenue expectations for the full year on Tuesday, citing a "difficult backdrop" in North America — its largest market by sales.

"Although it's too early for us to provide an outlook for 2018, our initial assumptions anticipate continued strength across our international [direct-to-consumer] business ... contrasted with a difficult environment in our North America wholesale business well into next year," Chief Executive Kevin Plank said on a conference call with analysts and investors.

Under Armour reported third-quarter revenue that fell short of analysts' expectations, as it booked an $85 million charge for restructuring efforts during the period.

Shares were falling around 14 percent Tuesday morning on the news.

Here's how Under Armour did compared with what Wall Street expected:

  • Earnings per share: 22 cents, adjusted, vs. 19 cents expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
  • Revenue: $1.4 billion vs. $1.5 billion expected in the Thomson Reuters survey.

"While our international business continues to deliver against our ambition of building a global brand, operational challenges and lower demand in North America resulted in third quarter revenue that was below our expectations," Plank said in a statement.

"Our management team is working aggressively to evolve our strategy and level of execution to proactively address these challenges," he added.

Under Armour reported a quarterly net profit of $54.2 million, or 12 cents per Class C share, compared with $128.2 million, or 29 cents, one year ago. Excluding one-time charges, Under Armour earned 22 cents a share.

Total revenue fell 4.5 percent, to $1.41 billion.

"The industry for athletic wear is much more difficult than we've seen historically," Susan Anderson, an analyst with FBR Capital Markets, told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"It's going to be more of a market share game" moving forward, she said. According to Anderson, that's why Nike is "upping its game," and so is Adidas, making a tough playing field for Under Armour to compete in.

For the latest quarter, Under Armour's North America sales were down 12 percent, while international revenue climbed 35 percent.

Within its various business segments, Under Armour reported an 8 percent decline in apparel sales, driven lower by weaknesses in women's training and youth items. Total footwear revenue rose 2 percent, and sales of accessories were up 1 percent for the quarter.

Under Armour cut its sales expectations and is now calling for revenue to be in the low single-digit percentage range, "reflecting lower North American demand and operational challenges." That compares to a previous forecast of growth of 9 to 11 percent.

Meantime, the company now expects 2017 earnings per share to fall within a range of 18 cents to 20 cents, adjusted. Previously, Under Armour had projected earnings of 37 cents to 40 cents a share.

In August, Under Armour shares cratered after the company announced it was cutting about 2 percent of its global workforce. The retailer is in the midst of a restructuring effort, which was also announced on Aug. 1.

On Tuesday, Under Armour said it expects charges of between $140 million and $150 million in accordance with the ongoing restructuring, up from between $110 million and $130 million.

As sporting goods retailers struggle to hold their footing in the U.S. marketplace, Under Armour is reportedly exploring the exit of its tennis and other outdoor segments. Getting out of smaller categories, like fishing, could help the retailer focus on its core performance businesses, like basketball and golf.

Under Armour also just launched its first subscription service, called ArmourBox. The company is trying to offer customers more customizable options. But not everyone is buying it.

"Under Armour is not so broken that it cannot be fixed," GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders wrote in a note to clients. "But the days of glory, when it would post double-digit uplifts in sales, are over."

"Under Armour has put down very shallow roots," according to Saunders. "While awareness has soared over recent years and customer numbers have risen, loyalty to the brand is not deep-rooted in the same way that it is at Lululemon and Nike. ... Under Armour has become just another brand in a sea of brands."

With Tuesday's declines, Under Armour shares have fallen more than 50 percent in 2017.

Under Armour management said the company will share additional details related to its 2018 outlook during a year-end earnings conference call in mid-February.

UAA year-to-date performance

Source: FactSet

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