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Can Amer Sports Run Where Birkenstock Stumbled?

The owner of Arc’teryx, Salomon and Wilson is headed for an initial public offering this week. It’s hoping its public debut will go better than the last big fashion listing.
Arc'teryx, Salomon, climbing, running, fashion, gorpcore, Anta sports
Amer Sports, which owns brands including Arc'teryx and Salomon, is expected to go public this week. (Arc'teryx)

The comparisons between fashion’s latest initial public offering and the last one practically write themselves. Amer Sports, owner of Arc’teryx, Salomon and other sporty brands, which is expected to list in New York this week, and Birkenstock, which went public in October, both sell functional-looking gear with big fashion followings. They have similarly seen explosive growth in the post-pandemic craze for outdoorsy clothes and shoes. Birkenstock sought an $8.6 billion IPO valuation last year, Amer Sports is angling for $8.7 billion.

Investors should therefore be wary of getting over their (Amer-owned Atomic brand) skis. Birkenstock shares fell on their debut, a sign its trendiness in fashion circles had failed to translate in the market, where future performance matters more than what’s in style today. The stock has risen since then, but it’s been a bumpy ride. Last week, the company warned of lower profits as it embarks on an expensive global expansion, sending the company’s market capitalisation below $8.6 billion once again.

The parallels only run so far. Amer Sports has a key advantage over Birkenstock right in its name. Activewear is the place to be right now: it’s a fast-growing market where the incumbent, Nike, is unusually vulnerable. Those conditions are why Swiss running shoe brand On is one of the few recent fashion IPOs trading above its debut price. Similarly, Deckers, which owns Hoka and Ugg, is on a never-ending hot streak, with shares nearly tripling over the last three years (Deckers conveniently will report quarterly results next week).

Amer has made moves to extend its recent run, such as reducing its reliance on wholesale and investing in both its core, technical offerings alongside the more fashionable items. Still, before going public, Amer Sports should be asked the same question as Birkenstock: Does that $8.7 billion valuation price in only some of the potential upside for Salomon and Arc’teryx? Or does the IPO represent the company’s Peak Performance (another ski brand in their portfolio; seriously, the puns write themselves with this one).

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What Else to Watch for This Week

Sunday

LVMH Watch Week begins in Miami, running through Feb. 1

Monday

Copenhagen Fashion Week begins, running through Feb. 2

Tuesday

Eurozone reports fourth-quarter GDP figures

Wednesday

H&M and Zegna report results

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US Federal Reserve announces interest rate decision, with no changes expected

Thursday

Canada Goose, Deckers, Skechers and Columbia Sportswear report results

Black History Month begins (US)

Eurozone reports January inflation, December unemployment

Friday

Apple releases its Vision Pro VR headset

US reports unemployment data for January

The Week Ahead wants to hear from you! Send tips, suggestions, complaints and compliments to brian.baskin@businessoffashion.com.

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