Reebok plans new fitness push

13 April 2011

DUSSELDORF: Reebok has set out an "ambitious" plan to boost profits by launching specialist fitness shoes and striking partnership deals with gyms.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Ulli Becker, the sportswear firm's president, said that Reebok would eventually prove to be a sound investment for its parent company Adidas.

"We are at the beginning of the turnaround," he added. "We have very, very ambitious goals."

Reebok, founded in the north of England in 1895, became a subsidiary of Adidas in 2006 in a €3.1bn ($4.5bn, £2.8bn) deal.

But the firm's revenues declined for each of the three years to 2009, before rising last year.

Overall, Reebok brand sales increased by 12% in 2010, while Adidas brand sales rose 9%.

The firm is now pursuing the personal fitness market as an area of future growth.

Sales were boosted last year by the launch of two shoes aimed at runners, the ZigTech training shoe and the RunTone running shoe.

The EasyTone line, a muscle-toning shoe launched in 2009, is also performing well, reflecting strong consumer interest in such products.

US toning shoe category sales grew from $17m in 2008 to $145m in 2009, according to NPD Group figures cited by Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, Reebok has agreed partnerships with gym chains, including a deal with Fitness First in Germany and CrossFit in the US.

These deals will lead to the gyms organising events to promote the sportswear brand. Fitness First employees in Germany are also outfitted in Reebok clothes.

Becker said: "We must activate people to get fitter ... The willingness is there, but the offer currently isn't there to activate enough people. I am very optimistic with what we have in the pipeline."

Data sourced from Bloomberg/Adidas; additional content by Warc staff