Stephen Curry has done huge things for Under Armour, but he still can’t make their shoes cool enough for collectors.
The Golden State Warriors star and two-time NBA MVP has helped the sports retailer’s show sales explode and, according to Morgan Stanley, could end up making a $14 billion difference to Under Armour’s value.
Unfortunately, however, Curry has been unable to help Under Armour crack into one of the trendiest markets: resale.
The resale market is largely made up of fans called “sneaker heads,” noted Jefferies analysts Edward Plank and Randal Konik in a write-up of a recent conference call with clients. The resale market has exploded in recent years, hitting $1 billion last year according to Josh Luber, CEO of shoe resale marketplace StockX, who spoke with the Jefferies team.
While not a direct indicator of future retail sales, according to Plank and Konik, these fans help drive taste and can generate hype for certain shoes which will bring more attention to the brand and “continue to drive demand for sneakers.”
While Curry has helped Under Armour bite into the massive piece of the pie in the retail shoe market that is controlled by Nike and their Jordan brand, the analysts said that the Curry shoes have failed to help in the resale market.
“While there’s no denying the success of the Curry franchise at retail, the lack of its collectible appeal at present is because the company largely hasn’t aimed to constrict supply,” said the note. “Additionally, the shoe is known more for its technical qualities than for its street vibe.”
Indeed, the most recent Curry Two has garnered serious jeers from sneaker officiants and casual fans alike when they were released in June.
While Plank and Konik saw this as an opportunity for Under Armour to run more limited releases and increase it’s brand awareness, it also indicates some of the weaknesses of the company right now.
“As the franchise matures, diversification could be a play for UA to extend the power of the Curry brand,” said the analysts. “But for now we remain cautious on the stock given tough sales compares against high expectations and very expensive valuation.”
So perhaps Curry could one day help improve Under Armour’s standing with sneakerheads, but not with his current offerings.
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