There has been a lot of coverage lately about how Under Armour has lost its way. After many years of 20% growth, it was reported today that sales were up less than 1% in the most recent 9 months. I’m a fan of Under Armour. Their training and sport apparel business reinvigorated the sportswear scene. But when they decided to get into footwear I dinged them. And after a good long run, it looks like my initial thoughts may have been correct. You can’t be a master to two kingdoms.
Sneakers are off-piste for a clothing company. Parse the brand name…it’s called Under Armour.
The current trend that Under Armour could have leveraged is Athleisure; an easy evolution from core apparel products. Men’s joggers are one of the hottest men’s wear products around, mirroring the explosive growth women’s yoga pants/leggings. By spending way too much time carving up the sneaker pie, Under Armour lost sight of its core business. The business upon which it built its brand.
Markers have to understand how important focus is — especially in brand-sensitive and brand centric categories such as clothing.
Under Armour cut a new swath in fashion with functional sportwear. Had it stuck to its knitting I’m convinced it may have innovated the legging and jogger categories. It may be too late, but not for what comes next.