Adidas expects sales in Russia to reach $1 billion in 2009, CEO Herbert Hainer told reporters on Tuesday. Overall, he predicted Russia and the other former Soviet states could become its biggest market in Europe by 2010.


“The Adidas Group is growing so fast in this large country that it is already one of our most important markets in Europe with the potential to claim the top spot by 2010,” he said, according to the Associated Press.


Emerging markets were a driving force behind the strong top-line development with group sales in Russia and the loose grouping of ex-Soviet states – which include the Ukraine, Armenia, and Belarus – growing by more than 50% in the first quarter. Overall first quarter sales in Europe increased 12% on a currency-neutral basis., Adidas.


“We are well positioned with all our brands in Russa,” said Adidas chief executive Herbert Hainer, speaking in Moscow the day before the UEFA Champions League soccer final.


Adidas said its market share in Russia is more than twice that of its nearest competitor, and adidas' Russian sales have been growing by an annual 50% in the past seven years. The company said the focus on key accounts and the expansion of single brand stores have driven growth for both Adidas and its Reebok division there. Adidas said that, at the end of 2007, it operated more than 460 stores in Russia and the other former Soviet states, and it is planning to increase that number to more than 750 stores in 2008.


The company said it is also the leader in the Ukraine, and successfully entered the market in Kazakhstan in 2007.


Russia and China are the most profitable and dynamically developing regions for Adidas Group in the world,” Hainer said.