How Adidas reclaimed the No 2 spot in the US from rival Under Armour
The German sports brand’s retaking of the number two sport comes two years after Under Armour forced it into third, representing a major blow for Adidas which has been historically entrenched in American sportswear culture for decades, unlike its relatively new Baltimore-based rival.
Matt Powell, a sports industry analyst with research firm NPD Group, confirmed the news in a Tweet stating that Adidas was, once again, the second-largest seller of sports footwear and apparel in America behind Nike.
The focus on running, basketball and its Originals business has helped Adidas retake the number 2 spot
The turnaround is somewhat unsurprising given Adidas’ last quarterly results, posted in August, showed that it had outperformed both Under Armour and Nike.
Since then the brand appears to have gone on the offense in some of its marketing, including its 'Sports Needs Creators' campaign which appeared to take aim at Under Armour for its reliance on big name athletes to sell the brand.
Adidas chief executive Herbert Hainer credited the turnaround to handing its brand managers more power and responsibility. However much of the recent success in the US can be attributed to Mark King, who became president of the North American arm of the business in June 2014.
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Upon his arrival, King vowed to generate double-digit sales growth in the region by repositioning the brand more with running and basketball as well as placing a greater focus on pushing its stylish everyday wear “originals” business.
Despite reclaiming the no 2 spot King downplayed the ranking and instead emphasised Adidas' ability to pose a greater challenge to Nike.
“I don’t think we think about it in those terms,” he said. “We have to be better, and we have to compete more. We have five times the assets that Under Armour does to be able to compete. I think if we do the right things, we certainly will compete at a much higher level.”
Under Armour meanwhile has saw its shares slip by more than 13% after executives warned sales growth would slow over the next two years.