Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UAA) shares are selling off in early Tuesday trade after the company was forced to admit that it’s operations are still a mess. UAA stock is down 5%, wavering between larger and smaller losses ever since it released its second-quarter report.
Under Armour said it lost $12.31 million (3 cents per share) on revenues of $1.09 billion. That bottom line was a thinner net loss than the 12 cents it bled in the year-ago quarter, while the top line was actually better by just less than 9%. Better still, both figures beat analyst expectations for a loss of 6 cents per share on $1.08 billion in revenues.
Still, our Luke Lango had it right — the recent positive action in UAA stock ahead of the report was indeed a trap.
That’s because, while the loss was smaller than forecast and the sales better than estimates, the company also announced a restructuring and a 9% workforce reduction. UAA also trimmed its sales forecast for the rest of the year, predicting revenue growth of 9%-11%, down from its previous estimates of 11%-12%.
It’s good for a company to admit its problems, but what investor wants problems?
What’s the Problem?
Under Armour has been struggling to keep up with investor expectations since 2015, though things really went downhill after one of its biggest retail outlets, Sports Authority, was dissolved in 2016. Hibbett Sports, Inc. (NASDAQ:HIBB) also is having trouble, and the company’s online traffic share is trending down, indicating more market share losses are on the way.
If the stock had not split 2-for-1 in 2016 — in a move engineered to maintain CEO Kevin Plank’s control of the company — there might be bullish pressure to sell out. But that can’t happen now, so investors are just walking away.
The “trap” identified by Lango sent UAA stock soaring to as high as $20.65 in mid-day trade on July 31, and its opening on Aug. 1 will send them back down to $19, near the low for the year. The bulls were hoping that endorsee Stephen Curry’s victory in the NBA Finals, and the hiring of Patrik Frisk (formerly of the Aldo Group) as company president would right the ship.
Agony of The Feet
Curry represents the problem. He was signed to hawk Under Armour shoes, and the shoes aren’t selling. Frisk has now been hired to fix that. His last employer, Aldo, is a high-end shoe retailer based in Montreal.
But Frisk has only been onboard for a few months. He can’t fix the shoe mess that quickly.
Plank’s last distribution idea was to partner with Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS), a mass merchant, but our Luce Emerson notes this is turning into a fiasco because Under Armour is a fashion brand and Kohls is a discount retailer. Richard Saintvilus has suggested a partnership with Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) to regain distribution.
Under Armour went after the market using a “me-too” program of athletic endorsements, piling more money into fewer names, while as our Josh Enomoto wrote recently, young consumers prefer hip-hop artists to athletes and older millennials who might have responded just don’t have the cash to lay out on high-end sneakers.
Is UAA Stock a Bargain Yet?
At its Aug. 1 opening, Under Armour is selling for about twice its annual sales, while Nike is selling for three times its sales. UA’s debt load, while higher than Nike’s, is not yet extreme at 25%.
Jefferies analyst Randal Konik, quoted in Barron’s, is responsible for the trap, but even his note acknowledged the second quarter would not look good. He thinks the stock is oversold.
I tend to agree, but I’m not going to advise anyone get into this stock before Under Armour’s agony of the feet is sorted. Maybe Frisk should do what Curry did and get Kevin Durant over from Nike if he wants his shoes to win titles.
Or Frisk could get his shoes on the feet of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Dana Blankenhorn is a financial and technology journalist. He is the author of the historical mystery romance The Reluctant Detective Travels in Time, available now at the Amazon Kindle store. Write him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @danablankenhorn. As of this writing he owned shares in AMZN.