North America to weigh on Under Armour's 2019 revenue growth, shares slide

(Reuters) – Sportswear maker Under Armour Inc (UAA.N) on Wednesday forecast 2019 revenue growth and profit below Wall Street estimates on expectations of flat sales in North America, triggering a 11 percent drop in its shares.

The company has been struggling to gain market share in the United States, its biggest revenue source, due to fierce competition from Nike Inc (NKE.N) and Adidas AG (ADSGn.DE).

Under Armour’s earnings forecast of 31 cents to 33 cents per share fell short of analysts’ estimate, reflecting the company’s struggle to turn around its North America business. Analysts are expecting the company to post a profit of 35 cents per share in 2019.

The Baltimore, Maryland-based sportswear maker also said it expects revenue to grow between 3 percent and 4 percent in 2019, while analysts were expecting a 5 percent rise, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company’s forecast indicates that a turnaround is still far away, B Riley’s Susan Anderson said.

Addressing investors at its headquarters on Wednesday, the company said it expected 2018 gross margin to be flat, compared with its earlier projection of “flat to down slightly.”

It also forecast compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to be up low single digits in North America between 2020 and 2022, mid-teens in EMEA, low double digits in Latin America and mid-20s in Asia Pacific.

The Hovr smart-shoe maker said it expected to return to a low double-digit revenue growth by 2023.

Canaccord Genuity analyst Camilo Lyon said Under Armour’s 2023 outlook suggested that earnings growth would likely occur toward the second half of the five-year forecast period, calculating a midpoint revenue CAGR of 7.2 percent.

“We would welcome having more confidence in the company’s ability to hit these targets, however, not seeing the company’s innovation or the depth of its pipeline prohibits us from changing a critical pillar of our thesis,” Lyon said, reiterating his “sell” rating on the stock.

Under Armour’s annual sales growth has slowed in the past few years and full-year profit has fallen below estimates in two out of the past five quarters.

Despite Wednesday’s fall, Under Armour’s Class A shares are still up 37.3 percent for the year.

“It is clear (Under Armour) is no longer the growth company it was years ago,” Lyon said.

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