Adidas CEO Upbeat for 2018, Sees Momentum Holding in U.S.

  • Adidas gaining American market share toward 20% target
  • Trump tax reform seen aiding U.S. consumer spending short-term

Adidas AG is optimistic that its revenue will expand strongly this year, even after it recently reported slowing growth on falling basketball and soccer-gear sales.

Chief Executive Officer Kasper Rorsted has a bullish outlook for economic activity around the world as he expects “exceptional growth” in China and a “very strong” economy in the U.S., he told Bloomberg Television in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. That will also translate into rising revenue for Adidas, the executive said.

Kasper Rorsted in Davos on Jan. 24.

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

“There are actually very few things I worry about this time and I’ve been to Davos many years,” Rorsted said. “The overall outlook for the economy is very strong.”

The upbeat message contrasts with the recent decline in the company’s growth rate, after sales advanced at less than half the speed of the prior quarter in the three months through September. While the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union will “undoubtedly” also slow expansion in continental Europe, Rorsted said, the tax reform of U.S. President Donald Trump will lift consumer spending in the country, providing at least a short-term boost.

That will help Adidas to a “very strong year in the U.S. in 2018” as the company makes progress toward its goal of lifting market share there toward 20 percent, the CEO said. Still, Adidas must become “more American” and do a better job in understanding U.S. sports, he said. Rorsted added that the turnaround plan for Reebok, which may take as long as four years, will have to shift from store closures to boosting sales and profitability.

Adidas has guided for sales to rise by 17 percent to 19 percent in 2017, adjusted for currency swings, and seeks to lift revenue to about 26 billion euros ($32 billion) by 2020. The company will report 2017 earnings on March 14, when it is also due to present its financial forecast for 2018.

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