Oppenheimer Remains Cautious Ahead of Under Armour Earnings

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Under Armour Inc. (NYSE: UAA) is scheduled to release its most recent quarterly results in the coming week, but everything may not go according to plan. In the previous quarter, this apparel giant fell well short of estimates and had its worst quarter in recent memory. Not to mention Under Armour’s clockwork growth was called into question. As a result, one key analyst is a little cautious about Under Armour ahead of the report.

First of all, the consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters call for a net loss of $0.04 per share and $1.11 billion in revenue. The same period of last year had reportedly $0.04 in earnings per share (EPS) and $1.05 billion in revenue.

Oppenheimer pointed out that Under Armour continues to lag (−34% year to date, vs. group at −10%), as earnings estimates keep coming down. While new distribution should help, and the brand still has runway internationally, the firm questions the guidance for sales acceleration following the first quarter.

It seems that momentum in Footwear is fading for Under Armour as well. The Curry franchise appears to be cooling off, which makes up a substantial portion of the Basketball segment in Footwear. In Running, Under Armour is still relatively unknown, even with a recent 20% off promotion in select running shoes, which is concerning as Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) just launched its Air VaporMax.

With Nike back on offense in Performance (Air VaporMax selling out online in hours) and Basketball (LeBron Soldier 10 and Kyrie 3 seeing double-digit share gains in $100 to $150 price range, Under Armour’s sweet spot) and Adidas’s momentum in both Lifestyle and Performance, Oppenheimer is questioning where that leaves the Under Armour brand, where Lifestyle penetration is still nil.

Oppenheimer finally gave its investment thesis as follows:

While Under Armour  still represents a growth story globally, growth in apparel in North America (still Under Armour’s largest region/category) is quickly slowing, while investments are accelerating and gross margins are under pressure given negative mix shift from footwear/international.

Shares of Under Armour closed Friday down 2% at $18.99, with a consensus analyst price target of $22.35 and a 52-week trading range of $18.40 to $47.95.