The Danish company reports a near doubling in its operating profit last year to 27 million Danish kronor (€3.6m-$4.9m), up from 14 million DKK. The jump was driven by a sales increase of 30 percent in Hummel’s European operations to a figure that is understood to be higher than €100 million. While withholding other figures, the management is predicting another double-digit sales increase for 2009.

Sales growth has been remarkable throughout Europe, with particularly strong strides in countries such as France, Germany and Greece, and in Eastern Europe generally. In terms of product lines, the two main reasons for the growth were a boom in Hummel’s footwear line and the special set-up of its supply chain system in the team sports division.

The footwear sector is said to be booming for Hummel in both the casual and athletic segments. Major retail chains have enjoyed fast sell-through for its sneakers. Worn by 90 participants in the recent World Handball Cup in Croatia, sales of its indoor sports shoes went up by triple digits in 2008.

After heavy investments in quality control and other operations in the countries where its team uniforms are produced, Hummel claims to have achieved one of the best service levels in this part of the sporting goods industry. The company has been able to deliver team sports apparel on a two-week notice and to lower the default ratio to 0.4 percent.

Hummel’s fashion segment remains marginal in terms of sales, but has been an excellent marketing tool for the brand. Its lifestyle clothing and shoes can be found in trend-setting stores such as Selfridges in London and Colette in France.

The facts confirm the turnaround operated by Søren Schriver, who left the management of Reebok in 1993 to head up the then-starving company.