Under Armour to open stores, take on Nike, Adidas
One of the world’s largest sportswear brands, US-headquartered Under Armour, is set to open retail stores in India. The company, which had partnered with Amazon and Flipkart-owned Myntra, to sell some of its products in the India, has set up a wholly-owned subsidiary in the country, said Jason Archer, MD of Under Armour’s Asia-Pacific region.
The company has roped in former Adidas veteran Tushar Goculdas, as MD of its India operations. Before joining Under Armour, Goculdas served as VP of emerging markets at the German sportswear company. “We are investing in Asia Pacific as there are long-term growth opportunities. We have been concentrating in China over the last few years. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be establishing our retail presence in India,” Archer told TOI.
Under Armour will start operations by opening stores in metros but even before announcing its India entry, the company has been testing the waters in the domestic market, where it will face stiff competition from the likes of Adidas, Puma, Nike and Skechers.
Under Armour, which uses brand endorsers, including WWE star-turned Hollywood celebrity Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua, been testing cricket-related products in Jalandhar, sources said.
It had also reached out to Indian cricketers. Archer, however, refused to confirm. “Cricket is a great sport. But we will start operations by selling our global portfolio of training and running products,” he said.
Most global sportswear companies, however, have found it difficult to crack the price-sensitive Indian market. Only two, Adidas and Puma, have managed to breach the Rs 1,000-crore mark in revenues, while the world’s largest sportswear company Nike has been fighting for profits, despite being in the country for more than a decade. The sector recently witnessed heavy restructuring, too, with several top companies laying off their employees and taking major functions out of India to cut costs.