In an interview with CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Kasper Rorsted, Adidas’ CEO, said he remained “extremely optimistic” about the company’s growth prospects in the U.S. despite concerns over changes coming with the Trump administration.
Rorsted discounted the president-elect’s proposal during the campaign to impose an import tariff on foreign goods.
“If [an] import duty will come, it will hurt the entire industry,” he told CNBC. “Mr. Trump is a businessman and I don’t think that is in his interest to punish consumers for buying the right products in the U.S. markets, (be it) ours or our competitors,” he added. “I don’t think that the new president will do anything to prevent our growth.”
Rorsted said that digital marketing and the “heat” of the Adidas brand will power growth in the year ahead.
“So overall for our business in the U.S. I am extremely optimistic. We grew more than 30 percent in the first nine months,” said Rorsted. “I don’t think that the new president will do anything to prevent our growth, I think the consumers will demand the products, and we see a huge opportunity in our product line, but also through the conversion into a much more digital marketing environment. So actually, at this stage, I’m very, very optimistic when it comes to the U.S., and I think that we have a great ride ahead of us.”
He was also particularly questioned about competing against Under Armour, which drew attention for signing its first German football club, FC St. Pauli, in a program that began in July 2016.
“I think you have to put it into context of the bigger picture. We are about five times bigger than Under Armour. We respect them as a competitor [but] we have had by far the highest growth rate in the industry this year,” he said. “So we believe very strongly, with the products that we have, with the heat our brand right now has, and the growth we’re getting in the U.S., that we are very well positioned to have a very ride for [the] long term.”
Photo courtesy Adidas