Under Armour Inc. is increasing its minimum wage for hourly workers.
The sportswear giant announced up to a 50% hike in its starting pay for more than 8,000 part-time and full-time employees — or roughly 90% of its retail and distribution workforce — in the United States and Canada. Its hourly rates will rise from $10 to $15 per hour (or $15.25 Canadian dollars), effective June 6.
“Our retail and distribution house teammates are the backbone of our business and play an essential role in our ability to serve our ‘focused performers,'” president and CEO Patrik Frisk said in a statement. “We are committed to doing the right thing, and at the center of our commitment is ensuring our teammates feel valued and appreciated.”
The Baltimore-based chain currently has upwards of 3,000 open positions in its stores and distribution centers. Some posts are seasonal and include sales associate, store manager and stocking roles — all of which start at $15 per hour.
Under Armour shared that the wage increase is the first of several initiatives — centered on “compensation, learning and development” — to attract and retain employees over the coming year. It added that it would provide a new incentive plan for hourly workers as it looks to amplify investments in its direct-to-consumer business.
“Direct-to-consumer is one of our biggest growth opportunities,” said president of the Americas Stephanie Pugliese. “Teammates in our retail stores and distribution houses are our strongest asset, and we needed to make a strategic decision on our hourly wages to be a competitive employer in the retail space.”
The pay hike also comes amid a massive crunch in the labor market, driven by the ongoing health crisis. Fears of contracting the virus, limited in-classroom learning and day-care capacities, as well as additional unemployment benefits from the federal government have led fewer people to return to the workforce. At the same time, many companies are struggling to keep up with demand as consumers — propelled by fiscal stimulus and COVID-19 vaccinations — feel safer going back to stores and other businesses.
For the three months ended March 31, Under Armour posted a solid first-quarter earnings beat that suggested it could be headed for a post-pandemic rebound. The company also raised its outlook for the year, anticipating revenues to be up at a high-teen percentage rate, compared with the previous prediction of a high-single-digit percentage rate increase.