* North America sales to rise 47 pct to 5 bln euros by 2020
* 2016 growth driven by Originals, running
* Two-thirds of sportwear worn for leisure, not sport-NPD
BERLIN, March 14 Adidas set a target
on Tuesday for sales in North America to rise by almost half by
2020, predicting strong demand will continue for fashion
sneakers after its retro Superstar was the top selling shoe in
the U.S. market in 2016.
The revival of the German brand has been hurting rivals Nike
and Under Armour but some investors are
concerned that Adidas is too reliant on fickle trends such as
the recent popularity of its Superstar and Stan Smith shoes.
Chief Executive Kasper Rorsted said the North American
market is the "biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity"
for Adidas, targeting sales of 5 billion euros ($5.3 billion) by
2020, after a 24 percent jump to 3.4 billion euros in 2016.
Shares in Adidas soared last week after the company
increased sales and profit forecasts, targeting total sales of
25 billion to 27 billion euros by 2020.
The stock was down 1.7 percent at 1330 GMT.
Rorsted told an investor day that the fashion-driven
Originals business, which includes the retro brands such as
Superstars, had grown 80 percent in North America in 2016.
Adidas running sales had climbed 40 percent last year in
North America while sales U.S. sports such as American football
and basketball rose 25 percent.
Brand chief Eric Liedtke said he was comfortable with the
balance, noting that a recent survey by market intelligence
group NPD showed that two-thirds of sportswear is actually used
for leisure rather than sport.
"It doesn't mean we want to become a leisure brand. It just
means we need to understand how the consumer is consuming the
product," Liedtke said.
Liedtke declined to comment on how many Superstar or Stan
Smith shoes Adidas sold in 2016 after it shifted 15 million and
8 million pairs respectively in 2015.
But he said Adidas had not seen any slowdown in a backlog of
orders for Originals overall, and highlighted strong demand for
new models such as Tubular Shadow sneakers, and Parley shoes
made from recycled plastic waste collected from the ocean.
Liedtke said Adidas had become better at managing launches
of new shoes to generate hype, and adjusting its supply chain so
that it could respond more quickly to demand for top sellers.
When the Tubular Shadow launched in November, Adidas
produced 250,000 pairs, which quickly sold out so it ramped up
production to 1.1 million pairs within 60 days, Liedtke said,
with 3 million due in six months and 8 million in a year.
($1 = 0.9406 euros)
(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; editing by David Clarke)