Under Armour to open 1st full-priced retail store

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Baltimore's Under Armour Inc. is opening up its first retail location soon in the spirit of the company's brash, emotional and engaging marketing.

In other words, stepping foot into an Under Armour store will make customers feel like they are in one of the company's engaging and sweat-strewn television commercials. That's just fine with Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank.

"It's meant to be a gathering place. There are no limits for having our very best product in one location," Kevin Plank said.

The key is to engage the customer in emotional fashion and connect with why they are there in the first place. Under Armour's slick and well-produced commercials (a-la Gatorade's neon-sweat commercials) appeal to the male testosterone junkie better than most, and recreating that experience upon entering and browsing a retail location will score major points with the demographic that shops for sports apparel at an Under Armour store.

That location will be a 4,500-square-foot store opening Nov. 1 at the Westfield Annapolis Mall. The company sells temperature-regulating clothes made from wicking fabrics as well as footwear.

Retailers such as Dick's Sporting Goods should complement the Annapolis store's business, according to Plank. He said other stores are planned in markets where the brand isn't widely sold.

Annapolis was chosen because of its proximity and lack of competitors. Company officials wouldn't say how much is being spent on the project, but Plank said he expects the store to make money in its first year.

"What I don't think the world needs is a slightly better athletic retail store," Plank said. "It's our job to redefine the paradigm of what the consumer and the athlete are looking for."

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