UA/NKE: Li-Ning Has More Skin in the Game

Few people likely noticed that Li-Ning – the largest Chinese athletic footwear brand – announced a partnership this morning with Skins, an Australian-based sports compression apparel brand. Formerly footwear-only, a few weeks ago Li-Ning dove into swimming…now compression. Watch this one, folks. Consider the following:

  • If opening a flagship store in Portland, Oregon earlier this year didn’t catch the attention of domestic athletic footwear companies, this move will. The partnership of a leading compression company by arguably China’s most vaulted footwear brand puts it squarely in the crosshairs of Nike and Under Armour.
  • A brief look at the company’s site (check it out here) reveals its heritage in cycling, however, the product has since transformed into multisport use. Most similar to Under Armour’s Recharge compression suit, both in price and function (think $75+), Skins doesn’t currently offer a compression product for the masses that competes at the $25-$50 level that both Nike and Under Armour offer – yet. See the examples below.
  • Recall that this also follows a move by Li-Ning on August 31st to get into the swim apparel market by becoming the official USA Olympic Diving Team’s apparel sponsor through 2012. In addition to the company's first U.S. sponsorship, it's a major indication of the brands intentions of becoming an apparel brand as well.
  • Skins’ most direct global competitor is Under Armour. With less than 5% of UA’s revenues (~$50mm) generated from outside North America, which is almost entirely derived from Japan, the company has taken a measured approach expanding into the Far East thus far. As a point of reference, the company has been in Japan for more than 10-years now and the business is now just approaching $100mm in sales at retail.  
  • On the other hand, Li-Ning’s distribution spans over 7,500 stores across China and is unquestionably one of the key benefits to the partnership for Skins with immediate access to the Chinese market.

What does this all mean? Under Armour and Nike will have to be more aggressive about their respective growth plans in China – period. Back on the Q1 earnings call CEO Plank noted that, “We are also taking initial steps into China, currently working to understand the consumer and how we need to organize to insure success.” While there’s plenty of share to be had in China, with Li-Ning making a bigger push in its local market with a better asset, we wouldn’t be surprised to see UA to step up its SG&A in a defensive way to protect its existing strat plan.  


UA/NKE: Li-Ning Has More Skin in the Game - Skins 9 13 10


Casey Flavin



GOLD: A Deep Dive on What’s Next with a Top Commodities Strategist

“If you saved in gold over the past 20 to 25 years rather than any currency anywhere in the world, gold has outperformed all these currencies,” says Stefan Wieler, Vice President of Goldmoney in this edition of Real Conversations.

read more

Exact Sciences Up +24% This Week... What's Next? | $EXAS

We remain long Exact Sciences in the Hedgeye Healthcare Position Monitor.

read more

Inside the Atlanta Fed's Flawed GDP Tracker

"The Atlanta Fed’s GDPNowcast model, while useful at amalgamating investor consensus on one singular GDP estimate for any given quarter, is certainly not the end-all-be-all of forecasting U.S. GDP," writes Hedgeye Senior Macro analyst Darius Dale.

read more

Cartoon of the Day: Acrophobia

"Most people who are making a ton of money right now are focused on growth companies seeing accelerations," Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough wrote in today's Early Look. "That’s what happens in Quad 1."

read more

People's Bank of China Spins China’s Bad-Loan Data

PBoC Deputy Governor Yi says China's non-performing loan problem has “pretty much stabilized." "Yi is spinning. China’s bad-debt problem remains serious," write Benn Steil and Emma Smith, Council on Foreign Relations.

read more

UnderArmour: 'I Am Much More Bearish Than I Was 3 Hours Ago'

“The consumer has a short memory.” Yes, Plank actually said this," writes Hedgeye Retail analyst Brian McGough. "Last time I heard such arrogance was Ron Johnson."

read more

Buffalo Wild Wings: Complacency & Lack of Leadership (by Howard Penney)

"Buffalo Wild Wings has been plagued by complacency and a continued lack of adequate leadership," writes Hedgeye Restaurants analyst Howard Penney.

read more

Todd Jordan on Las Vegas Sands Earnings

"The quarter actually beat lowered expectations. Overall, the mass segment performed well although base mass lagging is a concern," writes Hedgeye Gaming, Lodging & Leisure analyst Todd Jordan on Las Vegas Sands.

read more

An Update on Defense Spending by Lt. Gen Emo Gardner

"Congress' FY17 omnibus appropriation will fully fund the Pentagon's original budget request plus $15B of its $30B supplemental request," writes Hedgeye Potomac Defense Policy analyst Lt. Gen Emerson "Emo" Gardner USMC Ret.

read more

Got Process? Zero Hedge Sells Fear, Not Truth

Fear sells. Always has. Look no further than Zero Hedge.

read more

REPLAY: Review of $EXAS Earnings Call (A Hedgeye Best Idea Long)

Our Healthcare Team made a monster call to be long EXAS - hear their updated thoughts.

read more

Capital Brief: 5 Things to Watch Right Now In Washington

Here's a quick look at some key issues investors should keep an eye on from Hedgeye's JT Taylor and our team of Washington Policy analysts in D.C.

read more