NIKE, Inc. (NKE): The Battle for Female Athletes

The success stories are likely to come, not from organized sports, but from casual runners and the like. Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU)has built its whole empire on the back of revenue from individuals, not teams. And while NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE) and Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UA) use organized sports and the celebrities those sports generate to advertise, the companies still rely heavily on you and me to buy shoes to go running, or baseball gloves for kids, or hoodies to form massive social networks that we take public. The shortfall at the college level isn’t holding these companies back.

The bottom line
For now, Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UA) seems to be out in front. While NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE) is pushing the running angle, Under Armour has generated a well-rounded line of products, with its ArmourBra taking up a lead role in getting traffic into its stores. Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU)’s current transition, and the holes in its executive lineup, mean that the company probably isn’t moving as fast as it would like to grab more pie in the expansion of women’s spending. Luckily, the company didn’t seem to lose too much market share after its recent sheer-pants debacle, so it may still have a bright future.

The size of the opportunity and its growth means that the land grab is under way. Companies are free to roam around and get what they can, with very little butting of heads required, due to the size of the market. As things mature, though, it’s going to get heated, and not everyone is going to come out a winner. This is a competitive environment, and an early lead could make all the difference.

The article The Battle for Female Athletes originally appeared on

Fool contributor Andrew Marder has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Lululemon Athletica, Nike, and Under Armour. The Motley Fool owns shares of Nike and Under Armour.

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