Umbro Hurt by Decline in Suburban Gym Uniform Sales

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Umbro, the sponsor of six English Premiership teams and the majority of suburban gym classes in the 1980s and 1990s, reported steep declines in sales and profit, sending shares down 17% today in London. Pretax profit for the first half of FY07 dropped 45% on a 49% drop in sales over the same period last year. Umbro also makes England’s national team jersey, but with England currently blowing it in Euro 2008 qualifying, Umbro’s prospects continue to be bleak in 2008.
With the rise of competing sports apparel manufacturers like Under Armour and the penetration of the major shoe companies into the athletic apparel space, the real hit to Umbro is the decline of the brand’s use in suburban gym uniforms. Realizing that Umbros are often embarrassingly short, and see-through in most colors, suburban kids started concealing full-on views of their tighty-whiteys from sexually ambiguous gym teachers by making the switch to another pair of (ours were red) colored shorts in increasing numbers. While the creepiness of the mass bend-over that is a mysteriously timed “posture and spinal cord examination” has decreased, Umbro's sales have suffered.
Besides, Under Armour constricts blood flow and accentuates your middle-school pythons, like that ad with that kid leading that chant on a school bus. That kid scares the crap out of us. We still like to imagine that without donning a ridiculously tight marketing gimmick the dude would have spaghetti arms that barely find their way out of a large white T-shirt with the kid’s name on it. Also, nothing says, “my dad is living vicariously through my Little League leading 11 doubles, unaware that his genes will render me relatively un-athletic after puberty” than the latest sports equipment.
Umbro is aiming for the bottom half of the net, attempting to be at least the number three soccer brand in every market in which it operates under its new strategic plan which is to sell more stuff.
Umbro's profit drops, warns of tough sales [MarketWatch]

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