Steph Curry’s shoes aren’t selling, and Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank tried to explain that with a heavy dose of corporate speak in an earnings call today, where the company reported its first-ever losing quarter:
“Our success in basketball hasn’t been without its learning. As we launched the Curry 3 late last year, our expectations continued to run high. And while the Three played very well on court for Stephen Curry and our athletes, a sluggish signature market and a warm consumer reception led to softer than expected results.”
While Curry’s new Under Armour shoes might be great for him and his ankles on the court, that has little to no bearing on how many units they sell across the world. Plank acknowledged an “inventory imbalance” of Curry’s latest signature shoe, the Curry 3, and said that footwear sales had only grown two percent. Compare that with last year’s first-quarter sales growth of 64 percent and you can see why UA has something of a problem.
Prices for Curry signature shoes have risen steadily since their inception, but the playoff-specific model retailed at $120, $20 cheaper than the Curry 3. One of the problems ESPN’s Darren Rovell points out is that Curry tends to wear high-tops, which are bulkier and harder to sell, to protect his ankle. A fairly obvious problem is: The shoes look ugly.
Far be it from me, a man who still plays basketball in Huaraches from a decade ago, to have anything resembling an authoritative opinion here, but the market seems to agree: Nobody is buying these large, loud shoes. Plank said that the company would cool it with the garish colorways and pick their spots going forward:
He said Under Armour will be sharper with future shoe launches “with respect to number of color offerings, scarcity, exclusive and cadence of launches to drive more consistent engagement and results.”
If they go for a muted low-top, they should learn from a different past mistake, too.