As the year nears its end, adidas-Salomon closes its third quarter with overall group sales up 9 percent, the highest order backlogs it's had since 1998, and strong growth in the Asian market. Third quarter net sales for adidas-Salomon grew 4 percent from Euro 1.8 billion (USD $1.82 billion) in 2001 to Euro 1.9 billion (USD $1.925 billion) in 2002. On a currency-neutral basis, third quarter revenues grew 10 percent. As a result, group sales increased 6 percent (+9 percent currency-neutral) from Euro 4.7 billion (USD $4.76 billion) in the first nine months of 2001 to Euro 5.0 billion (USD $5.066 billion) in 2002. This increase was in line with the group's full-year sales growth target of at least 5 percent. "adidas-Salomon is in a better position than ever before. Our achievements in the first nine months of the year go to show how well our organization is tuned to keep on delivering, even in challenging times," said Herbert Hainer, chairman/CEO.
Footwear sales were the primary growth driver, with sales up 7 percent year-over-year. In the first nine months of 2002, Asia sales grew 21 percent to Euro 841 million (USD $852.1 million) versus Euro 693 million (USD $702.1 million) in 2001. In North America, group sales increased 4 percent from Euro 1.4 billion (USD $1.42 billion) in 2001 to Euro 1.5 billion (USD $1.5 billion) in 2002. On a currency-neutral basis, this increase was 8 percent. In the third quarter of 2002, the group's gross margin improved 1.8 percentage points from 42 percent to 43.8 percent. Gross margin improvements came from brand adidas as a result of increased own-retail activities, as well as a lower level of clearance sales and better clearance margins. "I believe adidas-Salomon is well prepared to take this momentum into 2003," Hainer said. For details, go to: www.adidas-salomon.com