Loss-making Asics upbeat as 2020 includes wins as well as losses
Japanese sports giant Asics saw its net sales falling 13% last year, with a drop to ¥328.78 billion (€2.5bn/£2.2bn/$3.1bn). This drove operating income down to a loss of ¥3.9 billion from a profit of ¥10.6 billion a year ago. The ‘ordinary’ loss was ¥6.9 billion and the loss attributable to the parent firm was ¥16.1 billion. Both measures had delivered profits a year ago.
The firm was hit hard by the Covid crisis with trading improvements after the first wave having been followed up by declines in recent months. And as well as its stores and those of its stockists having been forced to close for large periods, it has also seen the cancellation of major events that should have been key marketing opportunities for it.
But the companies saw success in China with Greater China sales up 4% year-on-year and performance running sales rising over 25% there on a currency-neutral basis.
Also good news, e-commerce sales increased worldwide and in North America they rose 112%, with a 134% rise in EMEA.
The company clearly worked hard to make the most of digital opportunities during the year and also managed its inventory very carefully. And with its shops forcibly closed, it also took a look at what was and wasn't working on the physical stores front, which means it closed its 5th Avenue flagship permanently. It said it took the decision as it should improve the profitability of its North American business.
The company also continued to launch footwear products, which makes sense in a year in which many consumers who were in lockdown took up pursuits such as running. It launched major new shoes under its main brand and also under the Onitsuka Tiger label, including a collection in collaboration with Valentino for the latter.
Asics EMEA also said that it did well given the challenging circumstances with a revenue decline of ‘only’ 7.3%. Its strong digital growth was helped by the introduction of new digital services to support more people find the right products online, as well as its first virtual running relay event, the Asics World Ekiden, which attracted a record-breaking 56,000 participants.
And the EMEA unit said the brand confirmed its position as the number one running label in Europe, according to NPD data. It gained 3% points market share in footwear in the ‘Made For and Used For’ Running category above €90 in the EU5 (UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain). It gained 2% points market share in footwear in the Tennis category and 10% points in the Indoor category in the EU5.
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