adidas-Salomon will need to rely on stronger than expected sales and margin growth in Europe and solid sales growth in Asia to achieve its projected 5% currency-neutral sales growth and 10% to 15% earnings growth for the year.

In a round-table discussion at the ispo trade show, company CEO Herbert Hainer pointed to the 10% to 15% declines in the company’s North America backlog at the end of the quarter as indicators of a flat year for the region. Currency-neutral sales for the first half are seen as “stable”.

Hainer did say that the flagship adidas brand “continues to set the pace with strong currency-neutral growth in Asia, Europe and Latin America”. Underscoring the company’s push in the performance sports arena, a release issued after the discussion estimated that adidas will sell more than 2 million pairs of ClimaCool® shoes and 750,000 pairs of a³® product in 2003. Soccer sales are expected to grow at “a double-digit rate” for the year.

The CEO went on to say that the adidas brand grew market share in the first quarter in a difficult U.S. market that was impacting other major brands as well. The company expects to hold onto the 70 basis point improvement in share despite the weaker back-to-school and Q4 backlog situation.

He also intimated that the U.S. consumer will see the company sign a new adidas NBA athlete soon.

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