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Under Armour, North Face, and Timberland Are Just Getting Warmed Up

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Many people across the United States have experienced an onslaught of snow, ice, and frigid temperatures in recent weeks. While many businesses were affected, companies like Under Armour (NYSE: UA  ) and VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC  ) remain in a great position to capitalize on these extreme temperature fluctuations.

Extreme brands
Both Under Armour and VF Corporation have incredibly popular brands that have resonated well with consumers over the years. While Under Armour's signature athletic brand and VF Corporation's wide array of outdoors brands like The North Face and Timberland have traditionally targeted athletes specifically, they are also gaining in universal appeal.

It is now very common to see men and women wearing clothing from these three companies in casual, everyday settings. While this widespread appeal is important for the overall growth of the brands and their respective companies, make no mistake, these brands still perform best in extreme conditions.

A quick look at Under Armour's website reveals just how much the company focuses its brand on the different weather extremes. The main website directs consumers to either "ColdGear" or "HeatGear." The former is apparel that helps to keep athletes warmer in cold conditions, while the latter is the direct opposite.

The label tags on most Under Armour apparel even break this dichotomy down for consumers in very simple terms: it's called the temperature guide. The company recommends ColdGear at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or below and HeatGear at 75 degrees and above. The company's AllSeasonGear is made for, you guessed it, the temperatures in between. 

Meanwhile, two of VF Corporation's most popular brands, The North Face and Timberland, are focused almost entirely on colder conditions. The North Face, a brand whose image is focused on and universally recognized as the premiere outdoors label, caters directly to the adventurous.

The brand's main site breaks down its product lineup by activity, which includes skiing, snowboarding, climbing, hiking, running, training and yoga. Newer products from The North Face like the "ThermoBall" line aim at providing warmth while still maintaining high levels of flexibility and comfort.

Timberland, which is VF Corporation's premier boot brand, offers footwear, apparel, and accessories, primarily for the colder seasons. The brand's boots are favorites for hikers and climbers of all kinds. Together, The North Face and Timberland make up more than 30% of VF Corporation's total revenues.  This is impressive considering that the company is expected to generate over $11 billion in total sales for fiscal 2013.

Extreme growth?
Extreme brands translate into extreme growth for Under Armour and above-average growth for the much larger VF Corporation. The following is a breakdown of both companies' projected growth rates for 2014: 


Under Armour

VF Corporation

Revenue Growth 2014



EPS Growth 2014



Under Amrour is the clear projected leader in terms of both revenue and earnings-per-share growth. The company is expected to grow above 20% in both categories, which would be consistent although slightly better than it's final expected 2013 performance.

However, the much larger and more mature VF Corporation is still growing very well. Additionally, VF Corporation offers investors a solid dividend of $1.05, which equates to a yield of 1.70%. The company also trades at drastically cheaper valuation multiples than Under Armour. The company's forward P/E of 20.22 is less than half that of Under Armour's 49.86. 

Extreme opportunity
While Under Armour and VF Corporation are two companies at very different stages of growth, the growth drivers are surprisingly similar. Since both companies excel at creating popular apparel products designed specifically for the cold weather, the recent extreme temperature drops (which occurred during the busy holiday shopping season no less) were most likely beneficial for both companies.

While the weather may be getting colder, the growth prospects for Under Amrour and VF Corporation are almost assuredly getting hotter.

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  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2014, at 7:36 PM, cooncreekcrawler wrote:

    TMF not being in the land of the cowboys, I can understand why you omitted the greatest moat of all for VFC---Wrangler Jeans. As long as there are cowboys, there will be Wranglers. North Face and Timberline are just icing on the cake.

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Philip Saglimbeni

Philip is an avid investor and writer. He contributes to The Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha. You can follow Philip on Twitter @philsags.

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8/28/2015 4:03 PM
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