August 1, 2017 / 11:21 AM / 5 months ago

Under Armour shares hit record low after forecast cut

(Reuters) - Under Armour Inc’s (UA.N) shares slumped to a record-low after the company trimmed its sales forecast and said it would cut jobs and close stores, underscoring the company’s struggles in a fast-changing and fiercely competitive U.S. sportswear market.

A company spokeswoman said Under Armour would cut 277 jobs, or 2 percent of its workforce, across its operations, half of which would be at its headquarters in Baltimore.

The maker of Stephen Curry basketball gear and Bandit running shoes, which wooed investors with its quick-paced growth until a few quarters ago, has been ceding market share to Nike Inc (NKE.N) and Germany’s Adidas AG ADGn.DE in North America.

Much of Under Armour’s woes stem from its inability to attract shoppers with its new offerings in a market that is shrinking as “athleisure” products, a category it helped pioneer, go out of fashion.

“We find (Under Armour‘s) apparel lacking in fashion. While brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma are thriving from retro revivals and casual looks, UA has struggled to develop an appealing shoe,” Jane Hali, CEO of retail investment research firm Jane Hali & Associates LLC, wrote in a client note.

Analysts have also said Under Armour’s strategy of wanting to dominate many segments of the sports performance category, even as consumers become more selective about what they buy, has worked against its favor.

A display for Under Armour merchandise is seen inside an athletic store in New York, U.S., August 1, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

The company’s shares, down 28 percent this year, fell another 10 percent to $16.27 on Tuesday.

Second-quarter sales in North America rose an anemic 0.3 percent, a far cry from the double-digit growth the company used to post until last year.

    “Given that North America still accounts for over three-quarters of Under Armour’s revenue, a chilly performance here means the company as a whole has caught a cold,” GlobalData Retail analyst Anthony Riva wrote in a note.

    Under Armour said it now expected full-year revenue growth of 9 percent to 11 percent, compared with its previous forecast of 11 percent to 12 percent.

    The company expects pre-tax charges of up to $130 million in fiscal 2017, related to store closures and severance costs.

    Nike also announced in June that it would cut about 2 percent of its global workforce and eliminate a quarter of its shoe styles, to better compete in a slowing market.

    Under Armour’s net revenue rose 8.7 percent to $1.09 billion in the June quarter. It posted a net loss of 3 cents on its class C shares which represent its common stock.

    Additional reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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