New Balance expects to grow by more than 15 percent globally this year and become a $2 billion company by 2012. The company attributed the growth to strength at its U.S. licensed stores, successful product launches and a positive response to its 'Let's Make Excellent Happen' marketing campaign.

At the 15 percent growth rate, sales for the current year would reach $2.05 billion worldwide this year.

In 2010, New Balance recorded worldwide sales of $1.78 billion, which compared to $1.65 billion in 2009. In the U.S., revenues last year reached $1.08 million against $1.07 million the prior year.

New Balance said in a statement that its U.S. licensed stores have seen increased year over year sales for the past 12 straight months, including very strong comparative sales growth in the past 3 months: June: 7.2 percent; July: 3.5 percent; and August, 6.4 percent. It also forecast continued growth through September. To date, overall licensed store sales have grown 5.7 percent in 2011.

“A major part of this success is directly related to our thought leader partners who own and manage the New Balance stores. They are the ones on the front line making it happen and driving the consumer experience,” says Chris Quinn, executive vice president, sales and retail for New Balance.

Also, contributing to this strong performance is the continued success of New Balance's 'Let's Make Excellent Happen' brand campaign, designed to motivate and inspire active consumers to reach a new level of personal performance as well as the strength of key running initiatives, including the launch of REVlite, a lightweight cushioning foam featured in the 890 running shoe, the NB Minimus collection and core running styles which can be replenished quickly because they are manufactured domestically.

“Our early read for September is also very positive. We have also seen similar strength in sales of running product at our independent specialty accounts and bookings for running product in the specialty channel for the first quarter of 2012 are up 22 percent,” says Stephanie Smith, vice president of retail for New Balance.

“Our brand strength has resulted in plans to open more than 15 new licensed stores in North American next year, many by current owners and partners reinvesting in the brand,” adds Smith.

All 157 licensed New Balance stores in North America (140 in the U.S.) are independently owned and operated.