German sportswear company Adidas turned around its sales in North America in the first quarter, helped by a marketing campaign designed to win business from dominant rival Nike. Ciara Lee reports.
Putting its best foot forward - German sportswear company Adidas has turned around its business in North America in the first quarter. Group sales rose 17 percent and boosted its shares by more than one percent. Adidas was helped by a marketing campaign designed to win business from dominant rival Nike. While western Europe and China also grew fast, North American sales were the shining star, rising seven percent. Adidas slipped to third place in the United States last year behind Nike and fast-growing Under Armour. Joe Rundle from ETX Capital says while the strategy may be paying off, there are still challenges ahead. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ETX CAPITAL'S HEAD OF TRADING, JOE RUNDLE, SAYING: "I am not sure how sustainable in the long term to focus in on that sector. Under Armour is a very aggressive player in what was dominated by two players, they are now increasingly becoming a serious counterpart. It does seem to be working but with the strong dollar we're seeing now, which is going to be a concern for the Fed, you are going to see headaches there." Rival Nike have advanced in Adidas's home territory of western Europe as well as in football. Its global market share is 15.9 percent compared to 10.5 for Adidas. But the German firm is optimistic about the future and its emphasis on the US - the world's top sportswear market. The boost in sales should also help reassure investors ahead of Adidas' annual general meeting later this week.