American athletic apparel company Under Armour has opened six specialty stores throughout Greater China and one in Taiwan in the past two years, but Inside Retail Asia reports on the brand’s most unique opening yet. Called “The Under Armour Experience,” the new store at Jing An Kerry Centre in Shanghai is billed as a “retail theatre,” an environment that makes storytelling its focal point. It accomplishes this with the assistance of a multi-dimensional short film, shot with 360-degree camera technology and displayed on a 270-degree screen, that seamlessly blends advertising with authentic athlete stories.
After the film, which is hosted by Michael Phelps, performance trainers lead guests to a limited selection of the brand’s footwear and apparel, featuring the new UA Speedform RC running shoe.
“Wherever we go around the globe, we will lead first with our story and bring the people into the best Under Armour experience possible before we ask them to try our performance apparel and footwear,” said Kevin Plank, the brand’s founder and CEO, “We believe in the power of storytelling and our ability to tell provocative and relevant stories will serve as a catalyst for our international growth. For many athletes in China, this will be their introduction to our brand.”
China is key to Under Armour’s international expansion. “International growth will continue to fuel our path to truly becoming a leading global athletic performance brand,” Plank tells Forbes. International accounts for 6 percent of sales currently. The company wants to double the international business to 12 percent of sales or $480 million by 2016.
MediaPost reports that Under Armour experienced a 23 percent increase in revenue in the quarter ending June 2013, and that the company has begun sponsoring men’s and women’s gymnastics competitions, which will have a presence at the Summer Olympics.
image credit: under armour