In the first half of its current financial year, running from April 1 to Sept. 30, Asics Corporation saw its consolidated net sales increase by 2.2 percent to ¥126,601 million (€1,253m-$1,593m).

Operating earnings advanced by only 0.9 percent to ¥10,967 million (€108.5m-$137.9m), despite a decrease in advertising expenses. Thanks to lower foreign exchange losses, the company's net income rose by 13.8 percent to ¥5,811 million (€57.5m-$73.1m), reversing the negative trend of the year-earlier period, which saw net income decreasing by 7.3 percent.

Domestic sales grew by 0.4 percent to ¥43,386 million (€429.2m-$545.7m), mainly due to strong sales of running shoes and training wear and in spite of weak sales of baseball wear and equipment.

Outside Japan, the group's sales increased by 3.1 percent to ¥83,215 million (€823.3m-$1,047m) in terms of yen, boosted by strong sales of running shoes in the Americas, Europe and other regions, but sales in local currencies grew faster.

In the Americas area, which covers the markets of the U.S., Brazil and Canada, total net sales increased in terms of yen to ¥34,671 million (€343.0m-$436.1m) in the period. Sales diminished in East Asia, down to ¥6,594 million (€65.2m-$82.9m), and in Europe, down from ¥31,723 million in the first half of last year to ¥30,936 million (€306.1m-$389.1m) in the latest period, but this was due to the appreciation of the yen. The operating income in Europe declined by 14 percent in terms of yen to ¥3,712 million (€36.7m-$46.7m).

The trends in local currencies were different. In the first six months of the calendar year through June, Asics' currency-neutral sales grew by 14.1 percent in the Americas and by 8.4 percent in Europe, compared with the same period in 2011 (see the next article for Asics Europe).

During the first half of its financial year, the group continued to expand its business on a global scale. In addition to supporting marathon events in different parts of the world including Paris, Stockholm and Gold Coast in Australia, the group manufactured and supplied products used by athletes in track & field, swimming and wrestling from various countries at the London Olympics. It also decided to integrate all its baseball products under the Asics brand.

On the sales front, the group opened directly managed sales venues in Spain, Portugal and Brazil, in addition to a flagship store for the Asics brand in London and a flagship store for the Onitsuka Tiger brand in Tokyo.

The company decided to split its Japanese businesses from the global headquarters in Kobe, consolidating and streamlining its Japanese sales subsidiaries.

For the full year ending next March 31, the group is forecasting consolidated net sales of ¥259 billion (€2,562m-$3,258m) and net income of ¥12 billion (€118.7m-$150.9m).