After more than doubling sales between 2010 and 2015, in 2016 ASICS made the strategic decision to streamline the distribution of selected running shoe models – including the GEL-NIMBUS, GEL-KAYANO, GT-2000 and GT-1000 – across EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa). According to the company, this was in order to ‘provide a more diverse collection across its distribution network’.
The long-term aim is to answer the changing needs of the consumer ‘by providing a greater variety of products that are suited to a broader spectrum of consumers to ensure healthy growth for ASICS and its accounts’.
ASICS’ strategy has hit short term growth, with consolidated net sales down 7% in EMEA in Q1 2017. However, despite a slow start in the first quarter of 2017, ASICS business in the EMEA region has reportedly shown positive signs in a number of key strategic growth areas. The first quarter saw a 3% rise in apparel sales, including a 10% rise in running apparel, and the continued growth at 4% of ASICS Tiger, the lifestyle variant of the performance brand. Alongside this, ASICS’ own retail stores increased sales 10% with apparel taking a significant share of all sales in ASICS own stores, further demonstrating a ‘potential of ASICS apparel within the markets’.
Later this year ASICS will launch a new creative brand campaign to introduce refreshing brand expressions across multiple consumer touch-points to aim to connect with a broader audience and enhance its brand presentation in the marketplace. This strategy will coincide with the opening of new flagship retail stores at premium locations in London (Regent Street), Berlin (Kurfürstendamm) and Paris (Les Halles). Each store will feature the new global retail concept, showcasing the brand’s full collection and providing a more consumer centric environment including the addition of community spaces.
Over the last two years ASICS has also made significant strides in developing its business in emerging markets with Russia (25%) and South Africa (9%) showing strong growth and further progress predicted for the remainder of 2017. There are also signs that the newly opened Middle East subsidiary will grow sales in a key premium market.
Alistair Cameron, CEO of ASICS EMEA, said, “We are making all the right moves for the brand by ensuring our legend products are re-positioned in the right retail environment, we have strengthened the senior management team and are heavily investing in the brand presentation. There has been a short-term impact in 2017, but the brand is now well positioned to grow sustainably and we expect to report sales growth by the end of the year.
“I’m particularly pleased to see the development of apparel across the region, a key growth area and how the new retail concept is driving a 10% higher share of apparel in our new and refitted stores. The new Middle East subsidiary has made a positive start to sit with the continued growth in Russia and South Africa. The next part of 2017 is very exciting for the brand with the launch of our new creative brand campaign which will further connect with a broader audience, whilst our sponsorship of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London will demonstrate our continued commitment to the highest levels of athletic performance.”