JEFFERIES: It's time to buy Under Armour

Under Armour‘s stock price has been getting crushed, losing 76% of its value in the last year. A year ago, Under Armour was trading around $US85 per share after dropping from an all-time high of $US100 in 2014. Now the apparel company’s stock is at just $US19 per share.

Under Armour has experienced a series of unfortunate events, from losing their CFO, to whiffing on earnings and slashing guidance, to realising that their products are becoming commoditized, showing up on discount racks in stores like Costco and TJMaxx.

However, the worst may be over, according to Jefferies analyst Randal J. Konik. The investment bank is upgrading the apparel company to a “Buy” from a “Hold” and raising their price target to $US27 from $US19.

The bank has surveyed consumers over the last three years about their habits and views on athletic wear. According to Jefferies, the changes in their survey results over the last three years represent the positive sentiment that consumers feel towards athletic wear and Under Armour.

In the survey, “nearly double the respondents have purchased athletic apparel with the past 12 months,” compared to three years prior.

The survey indicates that consumers love Under Armour even more they did three years ago. According to the results of one question, 72% of respondents said that they were “extremely or quite likely” to buy Under Armour products in the next 12 months, compared with just 48% three years prior. Additionally, consumers find Under Armour products highly stylish and functional compared to other top brands:

The Jefferies team sees big opportunities in athleisure and women’s wear as well. Currently Under Armour only makes about 5% of its revenues on athleisure products, compared to Nike’s 25%. Athleisure has been a hot topic in the industry for a few years now, but Jefferies doesn’t think it’s too late for Under Armour to catch up.

Right now about 30% of the company’s sales are in women’s apparel. Under Armour has expressed a desire to get that number up t0 50%.

Jefferies thinks that negative sentiment on the stock is extremely high and may be overdone. Under Armour is the most shorted stock in the S&P 500. If Jefferies is right, there could be a major short squeeze on the way.

Under Armour stock is up more than 3%. Click here for a real-time UAA chart.

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