Fitness financials: Forzani Group takes holiday season sales hit, plus adidas/Reebok

The Forzani Group took a holiday season sales hit, and adidas said it would eliminate 300 Reebok jobs.

Forzani Group takes holiday season sales hit

Canada's Forzani Group (TSX: FGL) reported lower-than-expected sales for the holiday season, saying that was "satisfactory" in light of the challenging North American retail environment.

For the 10 weeks ended Jan. 11, total retail sales were flat compared to the prior year. On a same-store basis, total retail system sales were down 1.8 percent, although sales were stronger in the week before and the week after Christmas, it said. Corporate same-store sales decreased 4.3 percent, while franchise retail same-store sales were up 3.0 percent. The company added that this same-store sales performance was on top of increases of 7.4 percent and 18.5 percent respectively, in the prior year.

Corporate store margin rates improved 55 basis points versus the prior year as a result of more current inventory and less aggressive discounting, it said. Corporate store inventory levels were as planned, and below last year, on a same-store basis, it added.

The Forzani Group is Canada's largest national retailer of sporting goods, operating under the banners of Sport Chek, Coast Mountain Sports, Sport Mart and The Fitness Source.

adidas to eliminate 300 Reebok jobs

As a result of the weak economic environment, adidas (ADSG.DE) said it is cutting 300 jobs at its Reebok brand in North America and South America.

adidas said in a statement, "This was an inevitable step on our way to making the Reebok organization leaner, more flexible and more profitable to be prepared for future challenges -- in particular in the light of the current economic climate."

Slowing demand in the U.S. market has roiled adidas, including a 15-percent drop in third-quarter sales at Reebok last year. In November, adidas said it was disappointed with Reebok's performance and estimated the challenges the brand was facing would be mainly resolved by March 2009.

Despite the cuts, adidas said it expects the group's workforce to remain unchanged at about 37,000 by the end of 2009 compared with end-2008 and ruled out job cuts in Germany.

--Compiled by Wendy Geister

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