Can Kohl’s Get Under Armour Back on Track?

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Kohl’s Corp. (NYSE: KSS) recently launched its marketing campaign for Under Armour Inc. (NYSE: UA), which is its largest brand launch in the history of the store. Overall, Under Armour is being rolled out across over 1,100 of Kohl’s stores. One key analyst took this opportunity to weigh in on where this launch could take Under Armour from here.

Although Jefferies only has a Hold rating with a $19 price target for Under Armour, the firm believes that this is launch offers great prospects for the company.

Jefferies did a walk-through in nearly a dozen Kohl’s stores to inspect the launch and marketing. In each store visited, a display of Under Armour merchandise was strategically positioned to capture customer attention after entering. Under Armour also had the most compelling signage/fixtures of athletic brands, consistent with Kohl’s management commentary regarding a strong commitment to the brand. Under Armour branding on the Kohl’s website was also appealing.

Under Armour merchandise was skewed more toward sportswear fashion versus performance, which is appropriate given the channel and Kohl’s customer. Several locations Jefferies visited have carried the product for a few days, and sales associates indicated solid customer interest thus far.

Jefferies detailed in its report:

Active/Wellness has reached 15%+ of sales for Kohl’s, driven by double digit growth in Nike and Columbia. With 25%-35% more space being allocated to the category, Under Armour should be a key beneficiary. We view Under Armour incremental to other brands, particularly given a younger customer. Alongside the 100 bps comp lift Kohl’s management expects from Under Armour in F’18, other brands like Nike should flourish. Girls is a particular opportunity for Under Armour, as we saw minimal existing athletic penetration (no Adidas, limited Nike).

Comparatively, Under Armour debuted at full-price, versus Nike and Adidas at buy one get one 50% off and clearance 50% to 60% off, but Jefferies believes Kohl’s will incorporate Under Armour into their promotional architecture by the fall of this year.

Shares of Kohls were trading up 1.3% at $42.52 on Wednesday, with a consensus analyst price target of $43.64 and a 52-week trading range of $33.87 to $59.67.

Under Armour was up 1% at $18.77, with a consensus price target of $23.00 and a 52-week range of $17.77 to $46.53.