The store Under Armour opened this month on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile and is the brand’s newest, largest and flashiest. It showcases not only its core training apparel, but also fishing and hunting gear, running and basketball sneakers, and a fitness tracker “wearables bar.”
It could represent the future of retail for the Baltimore-based sports apparel and footwear maker, which appears poised for a wide rollout of U.S. stores, in addition to the dozens planned this year for international markets.
One analyst speculated that Under Armour could roll out regionally customized stores in “A” malls across the country. Such a move would enable the company to take advantage of recently vacated mall space, other experts said. Foot Locker CEO Richard Johnson also hinted last week at a possible Under Armour shop-within-a-shop concept with his company’s stores.
“For all the talk about e-commerce and the shift it’s played in the retail world … it’s not to say physical locations are going to go the way of the dodo bird,” said Jason Moser, an analyst with Million Dollar Portfolio at Motley Fool in Virginia.
The wholesale business with such partners as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sports Authority and Foot Locker makes up 67 percent of the company’s $3 billion in annual sales. But the branded stores will become increasingly important, analysts said.
Under Armour will open at least three more Brand House stores this year in undisclosed U.S. locations, said Susie McCabe, Under Armour’s vice president of global retail. Such stores will be used to complement existing distribution channels in various markets, including department and sporting goods stores, specialty stores and online. An already announced Brand House store is opening later this month at Mall of America.