The boom enjoyed by Reebok with its new Easytone line of shoes is contributing to an unusual challenge for the Adidas Group, which has been struggling to fulfill demand, especially in Europe, which should account for half of the total sales volume this year. Some production has been fast-tracked and products had to be flown in, and this was recently complicated by the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud.

More structurally, Adidas managers said that changing ways of doing business with retailers was placing increasing demands on supply. For example, André Maestrini, head of the company’s French subsidiary, said that the company’s in-season sales had doubled compared with the same time last year. The Adidas brand’s market share remained roughly stable in France last year, ahead of Nike by a whisker.

 

After several years spent cleaning inventories and searching for a strategy, there are signs that the pick-up enjoyed by Reebok in North America is beginning to spread to Europe. The recovery is driven by the toning category, which is expected to generate global sales of about 10 million pairs for Reebok shoes this year – about half of them in North America but the other half in Europe, with a little contribution from Japan and South Korea.

As previously reported, the sudden rise of the toning category has been providential for Reebok in North America, as it introduced a new category matching the intended positioning of the brand. The brand’s Easytone range is now been introduced in all European markets – some in the first half of this year and others in the second half – with the support of large-scale advertising campaigns.

Herbert Hainer, chief executive of the Adidas group, admitted in a recent interview that the Reebok brand’s situation has been varying strongly from one European market to the other. Sales have risen sharply in Russia, encompassing all the categories. Overall, Reebok’s sales are firming up in fitness, running, walking, training and football, but still declining in basketball and classics.

Meanwhile, Reebok has extended its partnership with the French Cirque du Soleil by proposing a new entertaining fitness program for women, called Jukari Fit to Flex. It revolves around a light new Jukari Band being stretched with arms and legs in all directions.

Separately, Reebok has launched a new performance basketball shoe, the ZigTech Slash, capitalizing on the success of its Zig platform in the training segment. Confirming its new commitment to basketball, Reebok has signed up the projected #1 NBA draft pick of this year, John Wall from the University of Kentucky. The 19-year-old will wear ZigTech Slash shoes on and off the basketball court.