Mizuno performed much better in Europe than in the U.S. or Japan in the second quarter of its financial year, ended on Sept. 30. In terms of local currencies, sales grew by 10.5 percent in Europe during the period, but they fell by 14.5 percent in the Americas. They were nearly flat in Japan, where they went up by only 1.9 percent.

With the recent appreciation of the yen, total reported sales declined by 3.9 percent to 93.1 billion yen (€781.5m-$828.7m) in the quarter, about two-thirds of which, or exactly ¥62 billion (€520.4m-$551.9m), were generated in Japan. In terms of yen, sales declined by 5.8 percent in Europe to ¥8 billion (€67.1m-$71.2m) and by 20.3 percent in the Americas to ¥13 billion (€109.1m-$115.7m).

Sales of running shoes continued to be strong in Europe, but not in the Americas, where Mizuno complained about oversupply and intense competition in the market. Sales of footwear for indoor sports were strong in Europe. Sales of running shoes continued to grow steadily outside Japan in Asia and Oceania. Mizuno opened a directly managed running store in Taiwan.

Retail bankruptcies in the U.S. affected the company's business in the region. Also in the Americas, Mizuno's revenues in Brazil were affected by the weakness of the local currency and the sluggish economy in the country (see the article on Mizuno's Brazilian licensee, Alpargatas, in this issue).

In Japan, sales of products in major categories like baseball continued to be strong, but Mizuno had a difficult time with its golf products because of a shrinking market in its home country.

The company's total sales of footwear declined by 5.5 percent worldwide during the quarter to ¥30.2 billion (€253.4m-$268.8m), representing 66.5 percent of its total turnover. Apparel and equipment were down by 2.2 percent and 11.1 percent, respectively. Sales of other products and services increased by 10.3 percent.

Mizuno's operating income went down by 65.1 percent to ¥498 million (€4.18m-$4.43m) during the quarter, improving in Europe and declining in Japan and the Americas. Extraordinary gains helped the company to book net earnings of ¥705 million (€5.92m-$6.27m), down 51.5 percent from the same period a year ago.

For its full financial year, Mizuno is forecasting a drop in total sales of 1.6 percent to ¥193 billion (€1.62bn-$1.72bn), but operating profit should increase by one percent to ¥3 billion (€25.2m-$26.7m) and net income could grow by 5.5 percent to ¥2.2 billion (€18.5m-$19.6m).