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Greater US growth afoot, says new Adidas CEO

The U.S. retail market was at the center of securing increased sales and profit targets for German sportswear firm Adidas, its new boss told CNBC Wednesday.

"The one market that we have traditionally been challenged in, North America, we have made fantastic progress in the past two years so we have great momentum," Kasper Rorsted said, confirming that the firm is to continue investing heavily in the key U.S. market.

"We are creating U.S. products in the U.S., so we have the right products for the right consumers. We have grown 30 percent in the past year in the U.S., following a very strong year the previous year.

"It's a sum of many but clearly the US is starting to pay off for us."

Rorsted, the former chief executive of consumer goods firm Henkel who took over in October, said that the firm had not yet seen any "profound impact" from protectionist policies which consumed much of new U.S. President Donald Trump's campaigning. However, with 80 percent of production coming out of Asia, he admitted that the business could be hit hard.

"Should protectionism come, it will hit the entire industry."

Competitors race up the side of a Hong Kong skyscraper in 2004, the year 'Impossible is Nothing' was launched
Ted Aljibe | Getty
Competitors race up the side of a Hong Kong skyscraper in 2004, the year 'Impossible is Nothing' was launched

Elsewhere, Rorsted announced Wednesday that he was adding goals to an existing 2015-2020 strategic plan, putting more focus on company culture, e-commerce and efficiency.

Adidas now expects currency-neutral revenues to rise between 10 and 12 percent on average between 2015 and 2020, up from a previous target for a "high-single-digit rate", while net income should grow between 20 and 22 percent, up from 15 percent.

"A big part of that contribution is going to come through the implementation of sophisticated technology, whether it's in the manufacturing process, automation of our internal processes, or our e-commerce business."

The firm is targeting e-commerce sales of 4 billion euros ($4.22 billion) by 2020, with sales having risen 60 percent to 1 billion euros this year ($1.05 billion).

It also reported a fourth-quarter net loss of 10 million euros ($11 million) on sales up 12.5 percent to 4.69 billion euros, in line with most analyst forecasts.

Reuters contributed to this report.



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