May 5, 2009
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Adidas to cut costs, first quarter misses expectations

May 5, 2009

FRANKFURT, May 5 (Reuters) - Adidas (ADSG.DE) will shut down regional offices in Europe and Asia and could close some retail stores as it seeks to save more than 100 million euros ($132.4 million) a year.

Adidas Originals (Photo: www.adidas.com)

The world's second-biggest sporting goods maker after Nike (NKE.N) also said on Tuesday 5 May its first-quarter operating profit fell nearly 80 percent to 58 million euros, worse than the average analyst forecast of 179 million in a Reuters poll.

Adidas' German home market -- Europe's largest economy -- is facing its most severe recession since World War Two this year, with the government forecasting a 6 percent contraction. Retail sales there fell 1.5 percent in March, more than expected.

Adidas still expects group sales to drop at up to mid-single-digit rates in 2009 and sees margins, net income and earnings per share (EPS) falling due to higher operating costs. In light of crumbling consumer demand, U.S. bellwether Nike said in March it planned to halt production at three shoe factories in China and one in Vietnam.

Adidas shares trade at about 11 times 12-month forward earnings, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine, which weighs analysts' forecasts according to their track record.

That is a discount to Nike, which trades at a multiple of about 14.5, as investors remain wary of weak performance at Adidas' U.S. brand Reebok.

Adidas bought Reebok in 2006 to boost its position in classic sportswear and help it better compete against Nike. But Reebok still struggles, particularly in North America where Adidas suffered a 14 percent drop in 2008 net sales. (Reporting by Maria Sheahan, editing by Knut Engelmann)

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