Adidas shares jump as North America growth outpaces Nike

The World Cup boosted Adidas sales while North Amercia performed especially well. (Reuters)
Updated 09 August 2018
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Adidas shares jump as North America growth outpaces Nike

  • Shares surge on earnings
  • Greater China sales growth accelerates to 27 percent

BERLIN: German sportswear firm Adidas reported higher than expected second-quarter results on Thursday, as its sales growth continued to outpace rival Nike in North America even as it stagnated in western Europe.

Shares in the company famous for its three-stripe brand jumped 10 percent to a four-month high, before paring gains.

The results are the latest endorsement of a strategy implemented by CEO Kasper Rorsted since taking over in 2016, focused on improving profitability as well as expanding in North America and China and pushing sales via ecommerce.

Adidas has a strong pipeline of new products that will support sales this year and beyond, Rorsted told journalists, noting strong demand for its 1980s retro “Continental” leather sneakers that were relaunched in June.

“Full-year guidance reconfirmed ... which should reassure investors ... particularly given Adidas will have good visibility on the important third-quarter wholesale order book,” said Piral Dadhania, analyst at Royal Bank of Canada.

Sales rose 10 percent to €5.26 billion ($6 billion) after currency effects, beating the 8 percent expected by analysts.

Some analysts had expected higher marketing spending in the quarter due to the soccer World Cup would dent the bottom line, but Adidas counteracted that with higher prices and sales through more profitable channels such as ecommerce.

Adidas saw sales growth in North America slow slightly to 16 percent, but that was still well ahead of the 3 percent growth Nike reported for its March to May fiscal fourth quarter, the firm’s first increase in the region for a year.

In greater China, Adidas sales growth accelerated to 27 percent, slightly ahead of Nike’s 25 percent.

As Adidas had previously cautioned, sales were flat in western Europe, where Nike has been growing faster, but they jumped 14 percent in Russia, which hosted the World Cup.
Adidas has made management changes in western Europe after the company failed to focus enough on the launch of new products, Rorsted said, adding sales were likely to stay flat in the region in the second half of the year.

Nike teams dominated the final rounds of the World Cup, but Rorsted said the tournament was still a success as Adidas sold more than 8 million shirts and more than 10 million balls, and saw a boost to downloads of its app, advertised in stadiums.

Adidas said it was taking an impairment of 475 million euros related to the Reebok trademark in 2016 after the German Financial Reporting Enforcement Panel disagreed with how it calculated historical book value.

But it said the restatement had no impact on its cash position and reiterated its guidance for 2018 and beyond, adding Reebok’s prospects were unchanged. Rorsted noted that sales in North America rose 6 percent despite many store closures.

Adidas bought the Reebok brand in 2005, but it has performed poorly since. Rorsted has given Reebok until 2020 to return to profitability and said it should be helped by a new partnership with British designer Victoria Beckham.


Facebook to create privacy panel, pay $5bn to US to settle allegations

Updated 5 min 17 sec ago
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Facebook to create privacy panel, pay $5bn to US to settle allegations

  • As part of the settlement, Facebook will agree to create a board committee on privacy
  • It will also agree to new executive certifications that users’ privacy is being properly protected

WASHINGTON: The Federal Trade Commission is set to announce on Wednesday that Facebook Inc. has agreed to a sweeping settlement of significant allegations it mishandled user privacy and pay $5 billion, two people briefed on the matter said.
As part of the settlement, Facebook will agree to create a board committee on privacy and will agree to new executive certifications that users’ privacy is being properly protected, the people said.
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg will have to certify every three months that the company is properly safeguarding user privacy, a person briefed on the matter said.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the FTC will allege Facebook misled users about its handling of their phone numbers and its use of two-factor authentication as part of a wide-ranging complaint that accompanies a settlement ending the government’s privacy probe, citing two people familiar with the matter.
Separately, the US Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to announce a related settlement with Facebook for around $100 million over allegations it failed to disclose risks to investors over its privacy practices. The Wall Street Journal reported the SEC settlement earlier.
The Post also reported the FTC also plans to allege Facebook provided insufficient information to about 30 million users about a facial recognition tool, an issue identified earlier by Consumer Reports.
The settlement comes amid growing concern among US policymakers about the privacy of online users and have sparked calls for new legal protections in Congress. Separately, the US Justice Department said late Tuesday it is launching a broad antitrust probe into the competitive practices of large tech companies like Facebook.
Two people briefed on the matter confirmed the Post report the FTC will not require Facebook to admit guilt as part of the settlement. The settlement will need to be approved by a federal judge and will contain other significant allegations of privacy lapses, the people said.
The fine will mark the largest civil penalty ever paid to the FTC.
The FTC and Facebook declined to comment.
The FTC confirmed in March 2018 it had opened an investigation into allegations Facebook inappropriately shared information belonging to 87 million users with the now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. The probe has focused on whether the data sharing violated a 2011 consent agreement between Facebook and the regulator and then widened to include other privacy allegations.
A person briefed on the matter said the phone number, facial recognition and two-factor authentication issues were not part of the initial Cambridge Analytica probe.
Some in Congress have criticized the reported $5 billion penalty, noting Facebook in 2018 had $55.8 billion in revenue and $22.1 billion in net income. Senator Marsha Blackburn, a Republican, said last week the fine should be $50 billion.
While the deal resolves a major regulatory headache for Facebook, the Silicon Valley firm still faces further potential antitrust probes as the FTC and Justice Department undertake a wide-ranging review of competition among the biggest US tech companies. Facebook is also facing public criticism from President Donald Trump and others about its planned cryptocurrency Libra over concerns about privacy and money laundering.
The Cambridge Analytica missteps, as well as anger over hate speech and misinformation on its platform, have prompted calls from people ranging from presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren to a Facebook co-founder, Chris Hughes, for the government to force the social media giant to sell Instagram, which it bought in 2012, and WhatsApp, purchased in 2014.
But the company’s core business has proven resilient, as Facebook blew past earnings estimates in the past two quarters. Facebook is set to report earnings on Wednesday.