Asics Europe delivered an overall currency-neutral increase in net sales of 8.4 percent between January and June 2012 compared with the same period last year, in spite of challenging economic conditions in the region. Growth was mainly driven by the running apparel category and by footwear for “core performance sports.” Positive sales results were achieved in most European countries.

Sales of running apparel grew by 22 percent, while sales of running shoes went up by almost 10 percent. The sales increase in footwear reached a double-digit rate in performance sports such as tennis, volleyball, handball and court sports. Sales of sports accessories were also up in the double digits.

Germany and France contributed double-digit sales growth. The Benelux countries and Scandinavia posted strong single-digit growth. Spain, Poland, Russia and European distributors also delivered positive results. Sales in Asics' own retail outlets increased by nearly 60 percent.

In the three months until the end of June, which is the first quarter of Asics' fiscal year, the group's European turnover decreased by 1.2 percent to ¥18,156 million (€179.6m-$228.4m), but this was equivalent to an increase of 5.7 percent in constant currencies. On the same basis, the group's operating income in Europe crept up by 0.1 percent, but in yen it declined by 6.5 percent to ¥3,555 million (€35.2m-$44.7m) for the quarter.

Data from the NPD Sports Tracking Europe report, which covers the five major European countries, indicate that Asics has been gaining market share at the retail level. In the 12 months ended in June, the overall sports footwear market grew by only 2.2 percent at retail in these countries, but consumers' purchases of Asics shoes grew by 8.5 percent. In the running shoe market, a 13.6 percent increase for Asics compared with a 7.1 percent increase for the market. In running apparel, Asics' sales in the five countries increased by 23 percent, whereas the market rose by 9.7 percent.

Data from NPD also show the ongoing progress for Asics 33, the brand's natural running line. This segment is expected to grow further for Asics in the coming months, following its recent launch of the FluidAxis concept for the spring 2013 season. FluidAxis is a new technology that recognizes and responds to a runner's exact load and positional change from its first impact to toe-off.

Asics Europe expects to see further increases in 2013 from its investments in retail, apparel and vintage Onitsuka Tiger shoes. The company will maintain a strong presence in its target media with an evolution of the brand's “Made of Sport” campaign.