Asics America Group, which includes United States, Brazil and Canada, announced that first half 2012 net income was up 17.9 percent over the same half in 2011. Net sales for the period were up 14.1 percent on a currency-neutral basis and operating income jumped 53.5 percent.

The first half saw double-digit growth in all categories, which includes footwear, apparel and accessories. Asics America Corporation expects similar growth in second half of 2012 and is on track to reach its billion dollars in sales goal by 2015.

“At Asics we STOP AT NEVER to achieve our goals,” says Asics America Group President and CEO Kevin Wulff. “We are continuing to see significant growth and are on track to reach our goals for 2012 and our 2015 big goal of becoming a billion dollar company. I attribute this success to the dedication of our team, innovative products, continued momentum in running and growth in the tennis and training categories.”

Asics America said it continues to challenge itself at being a leading brand of choice for sports enthusiast. Recently, Asics America expanded product offerings in the tennis and training categories and is continuing to explore more opportunities to build and penetrate brand awareness. Asics America said the combination of these variables will contribute to the success of reaching the 2015 sales goal.

According to its just-released corporate results for the half ended Sept. 30, revenues in the Americas area grew 10.9 percent to ¥34.7 billion, up from ¥31.3 biilion a year ago. Sales advanced 14.1 percent in constant-currencies. Operating income reached ¥3.22 billion, up from ¥2.1 billion a year ago.

The strength in the Americas helped offset some weakness in its Japan and Europe.

In its home Japan region, sales improved 3.8 percent to ¥53.9 billion from ¥51.9 billion. Operating earnings slid 11.5 percent to ¥2.5 billion from ¥2.8 billion.

In the Europe region, sales were down 2.5 percent to ¥30.9 billion from ¥31.7 billion but were up 8.4 percent on a currency-neutral basis. Operating earnings slumped 13.9 percent to ¥3.7 billion from ¥4.3 billion.

In the Oceania area, sales rose to ¥5.6 billion from ¥5.3 billion and advanced 9.8 percent currency-neutral; operating income declined slightly to ¥1.38 billion from ¥1.39 billion. In the East Asia area, sales were off to ¥6.6 billion from ¥6.9 billion; operating earnings eased to ¥635 million from ¥771 million.

In its Other business, revenues were down 3.2 percent to ¥3.18 billion from ¥3.29 billion but grew 6.7 percent on a currency-neutral basis. The segment’s operating loss was trimmed to ¥339 million from ¥465 million.

Overall, consolidated net sales increased 2.2 percent to ¥126,601 million. Domestic net sales increased 0.4 percent to ¥43,386 million mainly due to the strong sales of running shoes and training wear notwithstanding the weak sales of baseball wear and equipment. Overseas sales increased 3.1 percent to ¥83,215 million due to the effect of foreign exchange rates notwithstanding the strong sales of running shoes in the Americas, Europe and other regions.

Gross profit increased 0.2 percent to ¥54.6 billion mainly due to an increase in net sales, notwithstanding a rise in purchasing costs. Selling, general and administrative expenses increased 0.4 percent to ¥43.6 billion primarily due to an increase in personnel expenses, notwithstanding a decrease in advertising expenses. As a result, operating income fell 0.9 percent to ¥10.97 billion. Ordinary income increased 7.0 percent to ¥10.0 billion due to a decrease in exchange loss. Net income for the second quarter increased 13.8 percent to ¥5.8 billion.

In its statement, Asics Corp. noted that an economic slowdown in the global economy occurred in the first six months through Sept. 30, mainly due to the aggravation of the sovereign debt problem in Europe. Asics added, “The Japanese economy, although the trend of moderate recovery on the back of factors such as earthquake recovery demand was observed, still faced difficult conditions due to the effects of the trend of weak personal consumption, deflation and other factors.”

In the sporting goods industry, interests in sport remained at a high level owing to rising health consciousness on the back of a running boom and other factors, but business conditions remained challenging. Under these conditions, the Asics Group said it continued efforts to reinforce and expand its business on a global scale based on the Five-Year Strategic Plan, “Asics Growth Plan (AGP) 2015.”

In addition to supporting marathon events held in different parts of the world including Paris, Stockholm and Gold Coast, the Asics Group manufactured and supplied its products used by athletes representing their countries in various events at Games of the XXX Olympiad, London 2012 such as track & field, swimming and wrestling. Besides, the Asics Group strived for heightening the value of the Asics brand and enhancing the corporate image through such measures as deciding to integrate all of its baseball products under the Asics brand.

On the sales front, the Asics Group worked to expand sales through such measures as opening directly managed sales venues in places such as Spain, Portugal and Brazil, in addition to a flagship store of the Asics brand in London, and a flagship store of the Onitsuka Tiger brand in Tokyo. Furthermore, the Asics Group decided to split its businesses in Japan from the global headquarters as well as to streamline and consolidate its Japanese domestic sales subsidiaries.

Asics concluded, “Through these moves, it is aimed for the Asics Corporation, as the global headquarters, to carry out business management focused on global market trends and strengthen its product development capability, which is a source of competitiveness, and for the businesses in Japan to strengthen and expand their marketing and sales functions.”