International sports clothing brand Under Armour is likely to open 15 concept stores throughout Israel by 2020 at a cost of NIS 30 million. The US brand currently has two concept stores in Israel. The newer of the two, which was opened in the Gindi TLV mall, covers 300 square meters and cost NIS 2.5 million to open. The first store was opened a year ago in the Tel Aviv port. Under Armour products are also sold exclusively at Get Pro, the Under Armour importer for Israel, at sporting goods chains, and at Hamashbir Lazarchan.
According to Under Armour Israel marketing manager Rony Ginzburg, the company has decided on a general expansion in Israel. 15 stores are slated to open in the coming three years, including stores in the BIG shopping mall in Beer Sheva and in Netanya next to the city's football stadium this year. All of the new branches will be operated as brand stores by the Grundman company, owned by Get Pro, and all will be designed according to a uniform global standard. Two of the branches to be opened in the coming years will serve as outlet stores (their location has not yet been determined).
Under Armour's expansion in Israel reflects a general global measure by the brand, which is growing stronger in the US. The brand has been marketed in Israel for six years, and Ginzburg says that turnover has grown over the past two years.
Unusually for sporting brands in Israel, Under Armour began by selling clothing items, and only began selling running shoes in recent years. "I have no doubt that this category will continue growing, among other things due to the fitness and sports trend, which is increasing demand for professional running items," Ginzburg says.
She stresses that Under Armour's prices are on the same level as the major competing brands, and that prices in Israel are similar to overseas prices, especially after customs duties on sports shoes were removed, thereby contributing to a 15% price cut. This is reflected mainly in the new products that will enter the stores in the coming weeks. The composition of the brand's sales items in Israel is 45% shoes, 45% clothing, and 10% complementary products (hats, bags, etc.) - a segment that has been growing among all the sports brands.
"Globes": In view of the fact that online sales in sports shoes have also been growing, will you launch a sales website as part of your expansion?
Ginzburg: It will happen after we open several more stores. This is one of the things we are working on, but before that, we feel that we have a room to expand in deployment of stores. Israelis buy sports brands online, but the main consumption culture for brands is in stores; the opening of more and more shopping malls is an indication of this. I have no doubt that the online channel will become stronger, mainly among the younger generations, and we will be there with an online store."
Under Armour is sponsoring leading international sports stars, including US football star Tom Brady and basketball start Stephan Curry, whose team, the Golden State Warriors, just won the NBA championship.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on June 15, 2017
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