Strong jersey sales suggest that NBA Golden State Warriors All-Star Stephen Curry continues to be one of the most popular athletes in the world, but the release of his Curry 3 shoe by Under Armour (UAA) has been met with less than stellar results.
Curry's team jersey was the top seller in the U.S. and U.K. from October through December 2016. The jersey was also the best-selling one for an active player in China during the 2015-2016 season (retired players Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan sandwiched Curry at the one and three spots).
However, that popularity hasn't translated to strong sales for the Curry 3.
The first signs that the Curry 3 may not have been selling came during a Foot Locker (FL) earnings call last year where the CEO singled out the shoe for not selling as well as previous models.
The shoe received solid if unspectacular reviews from the all-important bloggers and taste makers that reviewed the shoe ahead of its October release. But channel checks from analyst firms like Nomura also suggest that the shoe isn't a strong sellier.
Much like Under Armour's stock, the decline of the Curry shoe line derailed an impressive growth story.
Under Armour didn't respond to a request for comment.
Go back two years and the Steph Curry line of sneakers was Under Armour's salvation. Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank identified footwear has one of the under-penetrated markets that would drive the company to be a $10 billion company by 2020.
Under Armour's burgeoning shoe business is one of the revenue streams that the company expects to help it reach it growth goals in the future. Shoe sales surpassed $1 billion in 2016 thanks in no small part to Curry's sneakers. The shoe was responsible for nearly $200 million of the company's footwear revenue in 2016.
Last year, Morgan Stanley came out with a note suggesting that the Curry 2 was ready to overtake LeBron James' shoe line as the top-selling in the U.S., with the firm stating that Curry was trending towards $160 million in annual sales in 2016 compared to $150 million for James.
Prior to the company's recent fourth quarter earnings miss, Under Armour made no secret about its plan to double revenue by 2020 by growing 20% annually.
After 26 consecutive quarters of 20% growth, however, the company saw revenue grow only 12% in the fourth quarter, sending the stock tumbling 25% and the company searching for answers.
Under Armour stock was down 1.47% to $18.76 in early afternoon trading Monday.