In the fourth quarter, adidas-Salomon was on a roll. Net sales grew 8 percent (on a currency-neutral basis 17 percent), gross margin was up 0.9 percentage points to 42.5 percent, operating profit improved by 21 percent, net income equated to an increase in basic earnings per share of 21 percent -- all compared to the 2001 fourth quarter.
"2002 was another great year for adidas-Salomon. All of our strategic efforts have paid off in superior financial performance," said Chairman and CEO Herbert Hainer in a company statement. "Despite challenging market conditions, we achieved a currency-neutral sales increase of 11 percent for the group. We further strengthened our gross margin and, most importantly, our bottom-line earnings grew 10 percent."
For the 2002 year, consolidated net sales for the adidas-Salomon Group grew 7 percent to reach Euro 6.5 billion in 2002 (USD $7.19 billion). On a currency-neutral basis, sales were up 11 percent. Asia was the fastest-growing region, where sales increased 16 percent to reach Euro 1.2 billion (USD $1.32 billion). Sales there were helped along in Japan by the FIFA World Cup. In North America, sales for the group grew 8 percent to Euro 2.0 billion (USD $2.21 billion), representing a 14 percent increase on a currency-neutral basis. At brand adidas, sales grew 4 percent, which is the first positive growth in four years for adidas America. Sales for adidas-Salomon in Europe grew 4 percent. The only decline was in Latin America, where revenues are generated predominately by brand adidas; sales declined 9 percent.
In 2003, adidas-Salomon said in the statement that it aims to deliver healthy top-line growth of around 5 percent on a currency-neutral basis. Growth is expected to come from all regions. In particular, double-digit currency-neutral sales increases in North America and Asia will be major contributors. Based on positive developments, adidas-Salomon is targeting 10 percent to 15 percent earnings growth for 2003. For details, go to www.adidas-salomon.com.