Premier League deals help boost Under Armour's international business to $147m

Under Armour: the brand's rugby sponsorships around the Rugby World Cup last year
Under Armour: the brand's rugby sponsorships around the Rugby World Cup last year

Under Armour has boosted its international business during the first quarter, and it now represents 14% of total revenue.

Revenues from outside North America came to $147m, up 56% year on year. Total net revenue was up 30% year on year to $1.05bn.

CEO Kevin Plank particularly called out growth in the UK and China off the back of Premier League club partnerships and an expansion of its wholesale retail presence.

The company signed a £50m kit deal with Tottenham in 2011, and a seven-year kit deal with Southampton this month. Under Armour also sponsors Manchester United's Memphis Depay.

The expansion has helped cushion Under Armour from retail troubles at home, where Sports Chalet and Sports Authority declared bankruptcy. Plank said: "We do not believe retail is dead."

Under Armour has been trying to push its brand aggressively outside its home turf over the last year, in a bid to take on Nike and Adidas in the global sportswear market. It has moved into new European headquarters in Amsterdam, moving into the redeveloped area around the city's Olympic Stadium.

Womenswear surpasses men's in ecommerce

Plank also talked up growth in the company’s women’s business, which is on track to surpass $1bn in revenue this year.

He added that growth in ecommerce purchases of women’s activewear was outpacing growth in the men’s side.

His remarks follow comments made by Under Armour's former European head of marketing, Chris Carroll, on female consumers being 'critical' to the brand.

Finally, Plank tacitly admitted there might be more work to do on Under Armour’s connected fitness proposition, a key theme of its growth strategy.

The company released the $400 UA HealthBox in January, a bundle of connected fitness devices, but Plank didn’t reveal sales. He said it was the second best-selling item online behind the Curry Two basketball shoes.

But early reviews have been less than flattering, and Plank said: "It’s a product that will evolve. We’ll allow consumers to take us with the data they want.

"At the end of the day, we feel really good about what happened in the first quarter, and the [HealthBox] launch at CES. It’s definitely…terrain that will evolve for us."

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