Earnings

Adidas sales pick up pace as Europe recovers

Key Points
  • Sales rose a currency-adjusted 6% to 6.41 billion euros ($7.10 billion), beating average analyst forecasts for 6.32 billion euros.
  • Meanwhile, operating profit was flat at 897 million euros, also above analyst consensus for 882 million euros.
  • Shares of Adidas slipped 0.4% during early morning deals.
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Concerned falling spending power could lead to currency war, Adidas CEO says

German sportswear company Adidas said it expects a significant acceleration of sales in the fourth quarter after it reported stronger-than-expected sales and operating profit for the third quarter as it returned to growth in Europe.

Sales rose a currency-adjusted 6% to 6.41 billion euros ($7.10 billion), beating average analyst forecasts for 6.32 billion euros, while operating profit was flat at 897 million euros, also above analyst consensus for 882 million euros.

Shares of Adidas slipped 0.4% during early morning deals.

Adidas has eroded Nike's dominance of the U.S. market in recent years, but Nike has been growing faster in China and Europe, a trend that continued in the latest results.

Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted told CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe" on Wednesday that there was "no doubt" the overall consumer climate in the U.S. had been impacted by the long-running trade war.

"However, if you look upon Adidas, our numbers are marginally impacted," he added.

"We are much more concerned about a currency war — as we have said repeatedly — so we do not see that our numbers will be substantially impacted by the current trade war when it comes to profitability."

The U.S. and China have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of one another's goods since the start of 2018, battering financial markets and souring business and consumer sentiment.

Nike reported sales rose a currency-neutral 10% for the quarter ended Aug. 31, helped by a push to sell to consumers through its own stores and online.

Sales in China jumped 27%, but rose by a slower-than-expected 4% in North America.

Adidas sales rose 11% in China in the July-September quarter and 10% in North America, while it returned to growth in Europe, expanding 3%, as it moved to cut its reliance on its Originals fashion line and boost sales of sports performance gear.

Zhang Peng | LightRocket | Getty Images

Rorsted said he remained confident of a significant pick up in sales in the fourth quarter and confirmed a full-year outlook for currency-neutral sales growth of 5-8% and net income from continuing operations of between 1.88 and 1.95 billion euros.

When asked whether Adidas was acutely aware of political disputes arising as a result of the U.S.-China trade war, Rorsted replied: "We are very deliberate in not having a political position."

"I think it would be neither right, or appropriate, if we have a political position and opinion about every country we are in so right now, as we have done in the past and will do in the future, we operate in a neutral environment."

"And, frankly t-shirts and sneakers is not a very political product."

— CNBC's Sam Meredith contributed to this report.