The CEO of Dick's explains how Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson has helped his company turn the corner with Under Armour

Business Insider Finance 0 month ago

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is famous for saving the day in action flicks like "San Andreas," "Skyscraper," and "The Scorpion King." But beyond the world of Hollywood blockbusters, Johnson's Project Rock apparel collaboration with Under Armour can also be credited with helping to rescue the partnership between the Baltimore-based clothing retailer and Dick's Sporting Goods.

In a recent interview with Business Insider, Dick's CEO Ed Stack said that Project Rock was responsible for boosting sales and setting the partnership between the brands back on "solid" ground."

Things became shaky between the two companies early last year, as Dick's saw lagging Under Armour sales in its stores. In March 2018, Stack told Wall Street analysts that "significant weakness" on Under Armour's part hurt Dick's overall performance. Specifically, the Dick's CEO called out Under Armour's "expanded distribution" strategy, which saw the Baltimore-based clothing company partnering with other retailers like Kohl's.

Speaking with Business Insider about his book "It's How We Play the Game" on October 7, Stack said that Dick's has "re-engineered what we're going to do with Under Armour."

"The Under Armour business was down for probably five quarters in a row after they made the changes in their distribution strategy," Stack told Business Insider.

But since then, Stack said, the partnership has gotten back into shape. Specifically, Under Armour's brand collaboration with the Rock has stabilized the partnership.

"We made a big presence on Under Armour around The Rock — Dwayne Johnson — which has been great," Stack said. "It has really helped re-energize the Under Armour brand in our stores. We're on pretty solid footing with Under Armour now."

Johnson's own partnership with Under Armour dates back to 2015, when he signed a "long-term" contract to team up on an apparel and footwear brand. Like Stack, Johnson has voiced his own concerns about Under Armour in the past. However, the actor's qualms were political in nature. He was one of the celebrities to criticize the company's CEO Kevin Plank for praising US President Donald Trump as a "pro-business president" back in 2017.

Today, the Project Rock brand features products like shoes, t-shirts, athletic pants, leggings, and socks.

Johnson isn't the only star whom Dick's has hitched its wagon to. The sporting goods retailer also partnered with singer Carrie Underwood for its private-label Calia brand, which features women's fitness apparel. 

"The private brand business continues to be something that we're very aggressive on," Stack said.

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