Stephen Curry Sneakers a Slam Dunk for Under Armour

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Under Armour can thank NBA all-star Stephen Curry for helping propel the athletic-gear maker’s sales to new lofty heights.

Footwear sales surged 40% in the second quarter, the best performing category at Under Armour, a gain that was helped by the company’s relationship with the Golden State Warriors point guard. Sales for that category were helped by expansion in the running business and ongoing excitement around Curry’s signature shoes.

Under Armour’s business has been surging for years now, with sales exceeding 20% for 21 straight quarters. Apparel and accessories sales also increased dramatically in the latest quarter, helping results exceed Wall Street’s expectations. Overall revenue jumped an impressive 29% to $784 million.

Part of what is powering Under Armour’s results is a consumer trend in apparel that favors athletic gear, which is increasingly worn not only during athletic pursuits, but also in more casual settings that have nothing to do with sweating. That has helped the results for Under Armour, Nike, and other competitors.

But Under Armour has also made some wise endorsement investments. The company swooped up Curry after Nike reportedly didn’t fight too hard to keep him in their roster, and that move has paid off as Curry has been a star in the NBA. Other notable athlete relationships with superstars have included PGA Tour pro Jordan Spieth, who won this year’s Masters and U.S. Open, and ad campaigns with American Ballet Theatre’s first-ever African American female principal dancer Misty Copeland.

Another notable growth area: connected fitness, an area where Under Armour has already invested $710 million. Revenue from connected fitness more than doubled in the latest quarter, to $13.6 million. That figure is modest for now, but analysts and industry observers say “social fitness” — the trend among younger athletes to work out in groups and share their workouts via mobile apps — will only continue to proliferate over time.

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