adidas offloads Rockport for $280m, group achieves 2014 targets, launches “greatest running shoe ever”

German athletic sportswear giant adidas is to sell its non-core Rockport business to a new entity formed by Berkshire Partners and New Balance for $280m, mostly in cash. The news came as adidas launched “the greatest running shoe ever” (see below) and also said its Q4 sales rose 6% currency-neutral, excluding the Rockport sale, with strong top-line momentum at adidas, up 11% and Reebok, up 5%. In euro terms, sales were up 2% to €14.8bn.

Adidas said all sales channels contributed to positive top-line development, with strong double-digit growth in retail.

The group recorded double-digit growth in Western Europe, Greater China, European Emerging Markets and Latin America.
Underlying net income also hit its €650m target.

CEO Herbert Hainer said: “Now we are looking forward to 2015 where we will continue to invest in our growth opportunities and present our long-term vision for the successful future of the adidas group.”

The group noted net income for 2014 will be impacted by two non-operational items: Goodwill impairment losses related to the group’s Russia/CIS cash-generating unit largely as a result of the significant deterioration of the Russian rouble amount to around €80m; and the sale of its Rockport business.

On the Rockport sale, Hainer said: “Our focus is clearly on sport and operating a brand portfolio with a clear agenda to unleash the potential of athletes and inspire consumers to live active lives. The brown shoe category is not core to this strategy and the sale of Rockport will allow us to reduce complexity and pursue our target consumer more aggressively with the adidas, Reebok and TaylorMade brands.”

• adidas has also unveiled “the greatest running shoe ever” called Ultra Boost. The company developed the shoe using Aramis 3D shape and surface measurement to provide a “fully adaptable running experience”, which “intuitively adjusts to a runner’s stride delivering [an] unrivalled energy return… superior support and adaptive comfort over hundreds of kilometres, in virtually any environment”. adidas executive Eric Liedtke said: “To answer the world’s athletes’ call for more energy we aimed to create the greatest running shoe ever and we’ve done exactly that.”

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