Under Armour’s CEO told CNBC on Tuesday the company will reopen but then may have to close some U.S. stores again because of the coronavirus.
“We are going to see a gradual opening, and I think there’s going to be a few ups and downs in terms of potentially shutting down stores, reopening stores,” Chief Executive Officer Patrik Frisk told CNBC’s Sara Eisen. “It will be gradual, we believe.”
The reopenings begin this week and will continue in phases into June, he said.
He noted that the company has had a “gradual comeback” in China, where pandemic originated, leading him to expect a similar scenario in the United States. As of March 31, it operated 188 stores in North America, including factory outlets.
“Fitness and staying healthy is going to be top of mind for a lot of people,” he said. Running and women’s [merchandise] have been performing better than other categories, Frisk added.
Frisk spoke a day after Under Armour delivered disappointing first-quarter earnings. It reported a year-over-year sales decline of 23%, as most of its stores remain shut because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Further, management warned the worst is yet to come during the second quarter, where sales could fall 60%, as demand for its sneakers and workout tops is crippled.
“Everybody is going to have inventories building in [the second quarter],” Frisk said Tuesday.
Under Armour said it plans to cut about $325 million from its operating expenses in 2020, as it tries to weather the crisis.
But some analysts think there are too many challenges, some of which were already in place before the pandemic slammed the retail industry. Under Armour has long been working in the shadows of Nike and Adidas.
“The Covid-19 crisis has exacerbated the existing problems facing the Under Armour brand,” Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Sam Poser said in a note to clients. “Under Armour does not have the brand consideration or compelling product assortment necessary to reaccelerate sales post the current crisis.”
Under Armour shares have fallen more than 57% this year. The company has a market value of about $4.2 billion.