Driven by a 31 percent increase in annual sales of performance running shoes, Asics generated revenues of more than 400 billion yen for the first time in four years in 2021. And the Japanese company’s annual operating income topped 20 billion yen for the first time since 2016.

Net sales for 2021 were up by 22.9 percent to 404.0 billion yen (€3.11bn-$3.68 bn), as both China and North America posted increases of 30 percent. European revenues rose in terms of yen by 22 percent year-over-year and by 12 percent from 2019 to reach ¥106.6 million (€819.6m-$971.0 m), with performance running accounting for more than 67 percent of the region’s topline.

In terms of euros, Asics EMEA’s consolidated revenues went up by 13.7 percent, with gains of 27 percent in Italy, 24 percent in Iberia, 19 percent in Germany, 18 percent in South Africa and 16 percent in France. Revenues from e-commerce rose by 16 percent as compared to 2020. The regional operating income improved by 121.8 percent to €83.1 million.

Asics EMEA stressed that the brand remained in the No. 1 position in both running and tennis footwear in the region, according to the NPD Group. In the five major European countries, its share of the performance running shoe market in the €90-plus category increased to 33 percent, the company noted.

Asics’ operating profit in the performance running segment jumped worldwide by 17.7 percent to ¥42.6 billion (€340.8 mn-$405.7 mn) last year, lifting the profit ratio to 20.5 percent, as Asics focused on high-margin styles while coping with factory shutdowns. Annual segment sales jumped by 49.2 percent to ¥208.2 billion (€1.67 bn-$1.98 bn), with double-digit growth in Europe, Japan, North America, and Greater China. In the fourth quarter, the segment’s sales rose at a lower rate of 8.3 percent due to the suspension of some factory operations.

Asics’ bottom line showed a net profit of ¥9,402 million (€70.7m-$81.2m) for the year, compared with a net loss of ¥16.1 billion in 2020. The annual operating income of ¥21.9 billion (€168.4m-$199.5m) compared with a loss of ¥3.95 billion in the prior year, as the gross margin rose by three percentage points to 49.5 percent.

Asics is currently forecasting further sales and operating income gains at the global level this year. It expects production disruptions to continue during the first quarter. Annual revenues are projected to rise by 3.9 percent to ¥420 billion (€3.16bn-$3.63bn), with the expected operating income jumping by 4.8 percent to ¥23 billion (€184.0 mn-$219.0 mn), despite ongoing high logistics costs and “continuing aggressive investment in marketing.”

Among its annual projections by category, performance running sales are forecast to increase by 7 percent in 2022 to ¥223.0 billion (€1.78 bn-$2.12 bn). Core performance sports are projected to be essentially flat at ¥41.5 billion (€332.0 mn-$395.2 mm), despite global market share gains in tennis and indoor sports. Sales of Onitsuka Tiger branded products are projected to increase by 15 percent to ¥44.5 billion (€356.0 mn-$423.8 mn). The Sports Style segment is expected to increase by 4 percent, while apparel and equipment are seen inching up jointly by 1 percent.