Adidas fourth-quarter sales rose by a currency-adjusted five per cent. Adidas saw strong growth in sports inspired styles and in training and running in the quarter, but a steep decline in soccer, where it benefited a year earlier from sales of team jerseys in the run-up to the World Cup. Adidas expects currency-neutral sales growth to slow to between five per cent and eight per cent in 2019 from eight per cent in 2018. Supply issues are accounting for a one per cent to two per cent fall as it struggles to meet strong demand for mid-priced apparel. Shares in the German sportswear brand, up 22 per cent in the last year, were indicated down 2.5 per cent in early trade.
Adidas had doubled the size of its business in North America in the last three years. Adidas produces 457 pieces of apparel a year, sourcing most of them from Cambodia, China and Vietnam. The brand expects to reach an operating profit margin of between 11.3 per cent and 11.5 per cent in 2019, up from 10.8 per cent in 2018, with the return of the Reebok brand to profit helping it hit a target originally set for 2020 a year early.