In its ongoing effort to tighten up European operations, Adidas plans to integrate the logistics for all the Nordic and Baltic countries into its Central European structure. These 8 countries belong to Area Nordic, run from Stockholm by Patrik Nilsson since three years ago, with a single warehouse in Norköping, Sweden. The Baltics, where Adidas took over the distribution in 2005, were integrated into the Nordic logistic platform earlier this year. Finland, where Adidas still has a joint venture with Kesko, is being integrated right now.

From next March, however, all of Adidas’ operations in the Nordic countries will be supplied with the same ranges as in Central Europe, which will therefore cover 16 countries from its 160,000-square-meter warehouse in Uffenheim, near its world headquarters in Germany. There are no plans yet to integrate Reebok into this system for the time being. The Swedish office of The Hockey Company will continue to act as the Nordic logistic hub for the brand.

The switch to a more centralized logistic structure within Adidas’ so-called Area Central will give the Nordic countries access to a wider range of Adidas products, which in turn will enable them to more sharply segment the ranges offered to different kinds of retailers. The total number of SKUs that retailers will be able to order in these countries will rise from 3,500 to 5,000 as a result of the changeover, but each key account and each type of retailer will be able to choose from a different package.

This concept was introduced by Adidas in some markets such as the UK and the Netherlands over the last months, but the Nordic management has already been working on the segmentation of the different retail channels for the last three years or so. Combined with other initiatives, it has reaped the most convincing results in Sweden, where Adidas has regained clear market leadership, with a double-digit sales increase forecast for this year.

The brand’s strong run in most of the Nordic countries may be partly explained by extensive management changes carried out over the last years in the region, where nearly 70 percent of the group’s executive team has been replaced. One of the most recent newcomers is Claus Møller, who left the chewing gum industry to head up Adidas Denmark earlier this year.

Torkel Stensrud will start in Norway next March 1 as country manager, coinciding with the transfer of the Norwegian office from Gjøvik to Lillestrøm. He will replace Åge Skinstad who resigned last May to take charge of the big cross-country skiing section of the Norwegian ski federation. Stensrud, who is not related to another former Adidas executive, Erik Stensrud, was previously Norwegian country manager of Sony. A former handball champion, he subsequently worked for a big home electronics chain, Expert, with responsibility for the whole Nordic region.