Under Armour Beats Big Again, Shows It's Still the Greatest

Athletic apparel, footwear, accessories-maker Under Armour (NYSE: UA  ) announced fourth quarter and full year earnings results for fiscal 2013 on Thursday morning and the results were most impressive. Management even raised its guidance for fiscal 2014.

However, even more important than the specific numbers is the fact that Under Armour has made it a pattern in recent years to beat the average top and bottom-line consensus estimates. All results indicate that Under Armour will continue to be the most dominant retail investment going forward.

Another great quarter and year
Any way you slice it, Under Armour performed extremely well in the most recently reported quarter. Fourth quarter revenue grew to $683 million, up 35% from last year's comparable quarter of $506 million. Net income grew 28% to $64 million compared to last year's comparable quarter of $50 million. Diluted earnings per share also grew to $0.59, up 27% from fiscal 2012's fourth quarter diluted EPS of $0.47. 

These results were better than the average analyst estimates. For the quarter, the consensus revenue estimate on Yahoo! Finance was $619 million and the consensus EPS estimate was $0.53. As such, the company's results represent a very significant beat. 

For the full-year, Under Armour's total revenue grew 27% to $2.33 billion, up from 2012's $1.83 billion. Even more impressive is that the full-year revenue beat management's own prior guidance, which called for $2.26 billion. Diluted earnings for the year grew 24% to $1.50, up from $1.21 in 2012. 

More importantly, management at Under Armour also raised its guidance for fiscal 2014. The company now expects net revenues to be in a range of $2.84-$2.87 billion, which represents 22%-23% growth on a year-over-year basis. Management also raised its operating income estimates to a range of $326 million-$329 million, which represents growth of 23%-24%. 

Analysts are currently projecting revenue in 2014 to be $2.77 billion, which would represent year-over-year growth of 22%. 

What's working?
Perhaps the easier question to ask would be, what isn't working? Under Armour is being led by one of the most dynamic and efficient management teams that I've ever seen. With seemingly every new direction management has chosen to point the company in, Under Armour has performed well and emerged better for it.

New products in the company's signature apparel business, including an expansion to its Fleece offerings and ColdGear Infrared, helped grow the segment's revenue 35% in the fourth quarter. Footwear grew 24% in the quarter and accessories grew 52%. 

However, the company has also excelled in its Direct-to-Consumer business recently. DTC made up a staggering 39% of Under Armour's net revenue for the fourth quarter.  This is extremely important because it is a more profitable business for Under Armour than selling products in traditional chain stores like Dick's Sporting Goods

Chief executive officer Kevin Plank explained, "We have tremendous momentum across our business and we will leverage this strength to fuel our global growth ambitions in 2014." 

Growth compared to peers
Under Armour's growth is especially impressive when it is compared to its closest competitors. The company is outgrowing both smaller rivals like Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ: LULU  ) and larger ones like Nike (NYSE: NKE  ) in terms of revenue and earnings. The following is a breakdown of all three companies' projected growth rates going forward: 

Company

Lululemon

Nike

Under Armour

Revenue Growth 2014

16.2%

8.8%

22.5%

EPS Growth 2014

16.9%

16.3%

23.5%

*Nike fiscal year ends in May

Under Armour is projected to grow at significantly more robust levels than both listed competitors. However, the growth does now come at an expensive price. Under Armour's forward P/E is currently 58.57 compared to Lululemon's 20.65 and Nike's 21.06.

Results speak for themselves, so does share price
This latest great report from Under Armour marks the 15th quarter in a row that the company has experienced at least 20% total growth. The company also achieved other milestones in 2013 as well, including completing its first acquisition ever in MayMyFitness and the opening of its first two UA Brand House stores.

Not surprisingly, shares of Under Armour are up significantly in pre-market trading and are set to open up at all-time high prices yet again! However, I firmly believe the best is yet to come for Under Armour as growth in the company's female, footwear and international businesses are only just beginning. As such, the company will continue to be my largest holding.

CEO Plank summed up the company's progress and potential perfectly, "By any measure, 2013 was a banner year for the UA Brand. While we are proud of what we have accomplished to date, we firmly believe we are just getting started and that our performance in 2013 is indicative of the opportunity that lies ahead for Under Armour." 


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