Just in case you fast forward through commercials at night, you may have missed the fact that Under Armour is now available in all Kohl’s locations and on-line. It’s a partnership that most of the industry is excited about, and that definitely includes me. And while I have always been a fan of Under Armour, there has definitely been a huge opportunity for the brand to get in front of more women- especially moms (in my opinion). So with the activewear trend, aka athleisure, still going strong- it only made sense for Kohl’s to capitalize on it and introduce their customers to an additional brand like UA.
My hope is that this helps both companies see some additional sales and loyalty from consumers- as Kohl’s and Under Armour have taken a couple of hits just like the rest of retail. Kohl’s, which currently operates 1,100 stores saw a 2.2% fourth quarter comp sales decrease, with their net income falling 15%. Under Armour, on the other hand, posted a 12% increase in fourth quarter revenue, but saw a 1% decrease in net income. UA has also mentioned that their margin rate continues to drop (which of course worries analysts). I, however, look above and see opportunity. UA knows who they are as a brand, and are focused on driving product innovation and connecting with their customers. Kohl’s, to me, is a perfect way to gain exposure to both moms and families who lead an active lifestyle and aren't as familiar with the Under Armour name.
There are, however, some critics out there who worry about Under Armour watering down the brand, or getting caught up in Kohl’s coupon and loyalty discounts- but I disagree. There are key times throughout the year when the fitness category is promoted, but it’s not a constant. JCPenney, Macy’s, and even Dick’s have to do the exact same thing. Each retailer is trying to find a way to increase traffic without killing their margin- whether that's through product mix or loyalty marketing initiatives. And Kohl's is no different. My only concern is making sure that customers know Under Armour is there- from the in-store presentation, on-line banners, social media, and direct marketing. Once customers get a sense of the brands DNA, I do think they will end up coming back for more.
So to wrap up, I couldn’t be more excited and hopeful for this new partnership between Kohl’s and Under Armour. I have so far loved the two commercials I saw for the launch. It’s captures real life situations and motivates you to be your best self. The links are below for reference. As for the assortment, I have only checked it out on-line, but I look forward to getting to stores this week. I have a feeling some new sneakers, joggers, and a tech tank are in my future (that's my workout uniform). And yes, of course I would love for you to check it out as well and let me know what you think.
Lastly, to the team at Kohl’s and Under Armour- I hope we are all right about this one, and you walk away with increased market share and some black ink. Best of luck, always.