Emerging as a leader in retailer confidence, Mizuno USA, Inc., received high marks from running specialty retailers nationwide in a recent survey measuring brand strength, market strength, growth potential, and relevant running technologies within the running specialty market. Sports Marketing Surveys USA, in its Retail Sales Survey for Spring 2004, reported that the Mizuno brand, along with its patented Wave® Technology utilized in Mizuno running shoes, scored highest among running specialty retailers in several categories.

According to Sports Marketing Surveys, these reports consistently combine qualitative and quantitative data gathering techniques in order to ensure an accurate overview of the running footwear marketplace. The Spring 2004 survey included in-depth phone interviews with a total of 72 specialty running retail store dealers across the United States. Here are some of the results from the survey as they relate to the Mizuno brand:

Mizuno was ranked #1 in the Market Strength Index (MSI), which gauges a brand’s growth momentum as reported by running specialty store dealers.

Mizuno also emerged as the leader in the Brand Strength Index (BSI), ranked #1 by running specialty dealers, reflecting the brand’s strength in that channel. This index measures the level of enthusiasm among the retailers who carry the brand.

Mizuno’s share growth in specialty running retailers, according to Sports Marketing Surveys, increased by 12.5% from Spring 2003 to Spring 2004.

Mizuno Wave Technology was ranked the #1 technology for the second year in a row by specialty retailers in terms of benefit to the serious runner.

In one year’s time, Mizuno posted significant gains in the survey categories of profit to dealer, in-house customer service, product delivery, rep support, and overall ranking.

“We are extremely proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish as a brand and are very excited about the momentum we’re building within the marketplace” said Tom Elwell, Vice President and General Manager of Athletic Footwear and Apparel, Mizuno USA, Inc. “It’s great to hear this kind of positive feedback from our retailers regarding the increasing strength of the Mizuno brand and the continuous recognition of the performance benefits of our Wave® Technology. We remain committed to creating the best performing products for runners of all abilities, and servicing our consumers and accounts at the highest level.”

Mizuno said it continues to make huge strides in the running industry with a 29% increase in revenue for the running category from end of year 2002 to end of year 2003. In the specialty channel alone, Mizuno posted a 27% growth in sales through May of 2004 when compared to the same time period in 2003, along with steadily increasing market shares.

“Mizuno is a brand on the move as evidenced by retailer survey results such as these,” said Bob Puccini, President Mizuno USA, Inc., and Chairman, Mizuno Canada, Ltd. “Our running division has experienced huge growth over the last couple of years and we plan on continuing that success by remaining committed to serious runners by leading the way with cutting edge technologies for unsurpassed performance.”