* Mid-term sales growth target lifted to 10-12 pct
* Mid-term net income growth target 20-22 pct vs previous 15
* Ecommerce sales target doubled to 4 bln euros by 2020
* Q4 earnings, sales in line with analyst forecasts
* Shares up 7.6 pct
(Adds details, shares)
By Emma Thomasson
HERZOGENAURACH, Germany, March 8 The new boss of
Adidas increased sales and profit targets on
Wednesday, sending shares in the German sportswear firm to a
record high as he pledged to keep investing heavily in the key
U.S. market and do more to boost ecommerce sales.
The more ambitious targets will maintain the pressure on
U.S. rivals Nike and Under Armour, which have
both been losing sales to the German brand in their home market,
where its retro Superstar was the top selling shoe of 2016.
Kasper Rorsted, the Danish former boss of consumer goods
firm Henkel who took over in October, said he was
adding new goals to an existing 2015-2020 strategic plan,
putting more focus on company culture, ecommerce and efficiency.
Rorsted replaced long-serving boss Herbert Hainer with a
mandate to improve profitability after activist shareholders
took stakes in Adidas in 2015 as the German firm fell further
behind Nike in the United States.
Even before Rorsted took over, Adidas had made significant
strides, lifting marketing spending and shaking up its U.S.
business, helping its shares rise two-thirds in the last 12
months even though its profitability still lags that of Nike.
Adidas shares, which are now trading at a big premium to
Nike, jumped 7.6 percent by 0828 GMT to hit a new record high,
headed for their best day since November 2015.
"The mid-term guidance clearly implies that new management
anticipate a multi-year growth path, taking share from most
peers," said Equinet analyst Mark Josefson, who raised his
recommendation on the stock to "buy" from "neutral".
On Wednesday, Rorsted said Adidas was still
under-represented in the United States, the world's biggest
sporting goods market, and said he would invest more in
personnel, infrastructure, marketing and in-store fittings and
Adidas more than doubled its share of the U.S. athletic
footwear market to 10 percent in January, but remained far
behind Nike on 45 percent, according to market data firm NPD.
German rival Puma has also been enjoying a revival
in the U.S. market, helped by a shift towards retro styles and
away from basketball shoes which has hurt Under Armour and
dampened Nike's success.
ECOMMERCE TARGET DOUBLED
Rorsted said he wanted to focus even more strongly on the
Adidas and Reebok brands in future, announcing plans to sell the
ice hockey brand in addition to its golf business, which has
been on the block since last May but has yet to find a buyer.
Rorsted also plans to expand the use of technologies such as
3D printing, and increase ecommerce sales to 4 billion euros
($4.2 billion) by 2020, up from a previous target of 2 billion,
and 1 billion achieved in 2016.
Nike has set a target to reach $7 billion in ecommerce sales
by 2020, out of expected total revenue of $50 billion.
On Tuesday, Adidas said it has appointed Harm Ohlmeyer, head
of the group's global ecommerce business, as new finance chief
from May 12, replacing Robin Stalker.
Rorsted announced plans to harmonise and simplify business
processes, including reducing the number of articles offered and
harmonising marketing activities, a similar strategy to that he
pursued at Henkel, which helped boost profitability there.
Rorsted also said he would make a push to promote more women
at the firm based in conservative southern Germany, while
introducing a plan to link pay for top executives to the
development of the Adidas share price.
Adidas lifted targets for currency-neutral revenues to rise
between 10 and 12 percent on average between 2015 and 2020,
while net income should grow between 20 and 22 percent.
For 2017, Adidas forecast currency-neutral sales growth of
between 11 and 13 percent and net income to rise by as much as a
fifth to a level up to 1.22 billion euros, ahead of the 1.13
billion euros expected by analysts.
Adidas reported a fourth-quarter net loss of 10 million
euros on sales up 12.5 percent to 4.69 billion euros, in line
with most analyst forecasts after it took a one-off charge to
help restructure struggling fitness brand Reebok.
($1 = 0.9464 euros)
(Editing by Georgina Prodhan/Keith Weir)