Adidas sees slower sales growth in 2015 as trims margin target

BERLIN - German sportswear firm Adidas AG, struggling to keep pace with larger US rival Nike, said it expected sales growth to slow in 2015 as it reported third-quarter results in line with forecasts.

Adidas, whose long-serving Chief Executive Herbert Hainer is under pressure after a series of profit warnings he blames on the group's exposure to Russia and the flagging golf market, confirmed its sales and profit forecasts for 2014.

But it trimmed its gross margin target to 48-48.5 per cent, from a previous 48.5-49 per cent, and said it expected sales to rise at a mid single-digit rate in 2015, compared to the mid to- high-single digit rate it expects for this year.

Adidas sales are traditionally slower in years with no World Cup.

Adidas reported third quarter operating profit fell 13 per cent to 405 million euros (S$658 million) on sales of US$4.118 billion, slightly ahead of average analyst forecasts for US$399 million and US$4 billion respectively.