Under Armour Shares Surge on Strong Forecast

Shares of Under Armour Inc. hit a new 52-week high on Thursday after the company delivered a strong fourth quarter and lifted its full-year forecast.

Net income for the quarter rose 28 percent to $64.2 million, or 59 cents a diluted share, from $50.1 million, or 47 cents, a year earlier. Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 53 cents a share.

The company also raised its revenue forecast for the full year to between $2.84 billion and $2.87 billion, from an earlier prediction of about $2.33 billion.

Citigroup analyst Kate McShane predicted the company’s strong momentum over the winter period will carry into spring, in part due to industry buzz about its new SpeedForm running shoe and continued apparel innovation with its ArmourVent mesh fabric.

John Zolidis, an analyst at The Buckingham Research Group, lauded the company for the better-than-expected results. “Our hats go off to Under Armour after an outstanding quarter,” he said, adding that the strong quarterly result should benefit other players in the athletic space, namely Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. , Nike Inc., Foot Locker Inc. and Finish Line Inc.

Strong sales of Under Armour’s athletic apparel, footwear and accessories drove a 35 percent increase in revenue to $683 million in the fourth quarter, while sales for fiscal 2013 rose 27 percent to $2.33 billion from the same year-ago period.

Under Armour Chairman and CEO Kevin Plank said, “By any measure, 2013 was a banner year for the Under Armour brand. We surpassed $2 billion in net revenues for the year, which culminated with our 15th straight quarter of at least 20 percent total growth.” Plank noted that the company has continued to make investments in its women’s, footwear and international businesses to drive long-term growth.

Camilo Lyon, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity, attributed the strong result to the company’s robust sales, improved gross margin and lower tax rate in the fourth quarter. “Given the choppy retail environment, this is a particularly impressive earnings result that demonstrates the power and momentum the brand is enjoying now as all aspects of the company — apparel, footwear and accessories — are hitting on all cylinders.”

Fourth-quarter net footwear revenues increased 24 percent to $55 million, from $45 million a year earlier, led by gains in running. 

Under Armour’s shares rose more than 22 percent to 104.76 at market close on Thursday.

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