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Under Armour's fiscal Q4 EPS slightly misses expectations

Under Armour Inc.'s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings per share slightly missed analysts' estimates, as it announced the departure of its CFO Chip Molloy.

The athletic wear maker said Jan. 31 that it posted diluted earnings per share of 23 cents for the fiscal fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, missing the consensus mean of analysts' estimates of consolidated GAAP EPS of 25 cents, according to data provided by S&P Capital IQ.

The figure was down 4.2% compared to the retailer's earnings of 24 cents per share for the fiscal fourth quarter of 2016.

Selling, general and administrative costs grew 9% to $420 million as the company made an aggressive investment in its fastest-growing businesses such as footwear, international and direct-to-consumer.

Gross margin fell to 44.8% for the quarter from 48% for the same period a year prior. Under Armour said cheaper product costs were offset by inventory reduction and foreign currency shifts. It also noted that lower-margin footwear and international businesses constituted a larger percentage of overall sales.

The company also provided full-year guidance for fiscal 2017, saying it expects net revenue to grow between 11% and 12% to reach $5.4 billion, and to be up 12% to 13% on a currency-neutral basis. Operating income, however, is expected to decline to $320 million due to reinvestment in the business.

Those projections compare to the results for the full fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2016, during which revenue climbed 21.8% to $4.83 billion, while operating income grew 2.9% to $420.3 million.

Under Armour's net income for the fiscal fourth quarter fell 0.7% to $104.9 million from $105.6 million a year ago.

Operating income for the quarter shrank 6.1% to $166.8 million from $177.6 million for the same period a year prior.

The company's revenue, however, increased 11.7% to $1.31 billion from $1.17 billion for the same period a year ago. A 5% increase in wholesale revenue to $742 million and a 23% jump in direct-to-consumer revenue to $518 million fueled the growth, the company said.

Under Armour's North American sales increased 5.9% to $1.08 billion, while international sales spiked 55.2% to $215.3 million.

The company said CFO Molloy is leaving the company for personal reasons, effective Feb. 3. David Bergman, who is currently the senior vice president of corporate finance, will replace Molloy as acting CFO.