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Under Armour Founder and Lindsey Vonn Say Gear is for Women of All Sizes

The Baltimore-based sportswear maker is helping to outfit athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. And CEO Kevin Plank weighs in on the Lululemon controversy.

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn say the company's gear is made for women of all shapes and sizes.
Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn say the company's gear is made for women of all shapes and sizes.

Under Armour is in the news.

Under Armour active wear is made for women of all shapes and sizes, CEO Kevin Plank said in a recent interview on Bloomberg TV

Plank appeared with Olympic medalist and downhill skier Lindsey Vonn to talk about his company’s new cold-weather clothing line for athletes competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.

But Plank was also asked for his take on Lululemon founder Chip Wilson’s recent comments in an interview. Wilson said there are some women’s bodies that just aren’t a good fit for his company’s yoga apparel and running gear.

“Street Smart” host Trish Regan asked Plank if Under Armour is made for all women.

“It’s about making all athletes better, and so we don’t put any limitations on exactly what that means,” Plank said. “From the very best, like Lindsey, all the way down to someone who maybe just wants to lose a couple pounds and feel better, I think that’s where Under Armour begins and ends.” 

Vonn agreed, saying she’s not “a teeny, tiny yoga model, that’s not why I’m with the company” and Under Armour’s durable clothing helps her perform better.

Winter Olympics Clothing

Regan asked Plank how the international exposure that will come with the Olympics is likely to help build Under Armour’s brand. The company is known as a North American brand, the CEO replied, with less than 10 percent of its revenue coming from international markets.

“Being global … is a massive goal and initiative for us,” Plank said. “Becoming a global company, finding the resources that we can spend on a global stage like the Olympics, and have marquis athletes like Lindsey here, (speed skater) Shani Davis, other members that we have . … The Olympics is where the whole world stops and says ‘what’s happening in sport’ every two or four years. To participate at this level, it’s bigger than we were way back in 2010.”

Vonn, who blew out her knee a year ago, said she’s looking forward to wearing Under Armour’s new gear in her first race since rehab, which takes place after Thanksgiving.

Plank was asked how the company will convince consumers to switch from a brand they’ve associated with a sport to Under Armour. Touting its commitment to technology, Plank said, “It’s a long road up, but that what speaks to so much opportunity the Under Armour brand has in front of us.” 

New Commercial Unveiled

The company has a new television commercial – narrated by Plank -- that features Olympic athletes such as Vonn interspersed with kids wearing Under Armour, along with Willie Robertson from the popular reality show “Duck Dynasty.”

The Baltimore-based sportswear maker launched its new marketing campaign centered on ColdGear Infrared, a ceramic lining inside Under Armour’s newest cold weather gear designed to keep athletes warmer longer. The campaign debuted Tuesday in Denver, says Baltimore Business Journal.

The commercial is co-branded with Dick’s Sporting Goods and also includes Cam Newton of the NFL and professional golfer Jordan Spieth. The advertisement is the latest installment in Under Armour’s “I Will” campaign, the Business Journal reports.

Shoe Sales Disappointing 

On the heels of a strong third quarter, Under Armour Inc.’s shoe sales slowed in October, the Business Journal recently reported.

The Baltimore company’s shoe sales “cooled off” last month, an analyst with SportsOneSource told the Journal, although sales grew 13 percent. That's far behind October’s hottest brand, the Jordan division of Nike Inc., which saw sales jump 30 percent.

In September, Under Armour grew its shoe sales more than any other brand, the Business Journal reported. And it posted the strongest overall growth in sports footwear in the third quarter, with sales climbing 30 percent.

Two-thirds of the company’s growth in the third quarter came from the brand’s Highlight cleat. Under Armour also grew its running shoe sales 20 percent, nabbing a 2.7 percent share of the running segment.

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