Under Armour: sportswear company Under Armor moves to distributor model

Sportswear maker Under Armor has moved to a distributor model in India, three years after setting up a wholly-owned subsidiary in the country.

The Baltimore-based company said in a press release on Tuesday that it had appointed Underdog Athletics – a company started by its Indian chief executive Tushar Goculdas – as the local distributor and master franchisee to manage its operations in India.

“We have acquired the assets of Under Armor in India and the core team has moved to the new company,” said Goculdas who launched Underdog Athletics in April 2021 to prepare for the takeover.

ET reported in March last year that Under Armor planned to appoint Goculdas as a local distributor instead of continuing its subsidiary in India.

India is the latest among a series of countries, including countries in the Southeast Asian region, South Africa and Japan, where Under Armor has registered distributors.

Under Armor operates 28 outlets in India, all owned and operated by franchisees, and the company plans to maintain its pace of adding around 10 stores per year in the coming years.

According to Goculdas, between 2007 and 2019, global sportswear brands in India grew by around 12% year-over-year in dollar terms until the pandemic slowed momentum.

“We will return to a double-digit growth trajectory from this year,” Goculdas said, referring to the overall market for global sportswear brands in India. “Sales are almost back to pre-Covid levels.”

Under Armor operates stores in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai and Lucknow, among other cities, and all outlets are operated by three sub-franchisees of Ample Retail, Arihant Agencies and Unicorn Sportswear.

Goculdas said Underdog Athletics has no plans to open its own outlets and will continue to recruit sub-franchisees in future years.

However, the company which holds the distribution and franchise rights in India plans to operate Under Armour’s Indian e-store, which is expected to be rolled out within the next three months to tap India’s growing e-commerce market. .

Under Armor debuted in India in 2017 through an exclusive online deal with Amazon. Subsequently, in 2019, the sportswear company established its 100% Indian-owned wholesale business – a retail route through which the country allows 100% overseas ownership.

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