Adidas Readies Apparel Catalog Launch for '06

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Adidas-Salomon AG is working on a catalog that will target the U.S. market next year, DM News has learned exclusively.


Like the catalog launched last fall by competitor Nike, Adidas' direct marketing vehicle will have a strong apparel orientation. The first issue is expected to hit mailboxes next spring. It is not known whether Adidas will be doing any test catalogs this year. Several calls placed to Adidas' U.S. public relations department for comment were not returned.


Sportswear catalogs are on a roll. In addition to the Nike catalog, L.L. Bean mailed Everyday Adventures for active women in January. ESPN launched a sporting goods and lifestyle apparel catalog in December while Jenny Craig expanded its annual holiday catalog to include sportswear apparel from the Activa line.


Adidas' planned catalog follows several indications that the company's position is strengthening in the U.S. market.


At the company's May 4 annual general meeting, Adidas-Salomon AG chairman/CEO Herbert Hainer informed attendees that North American sales turned around in 2004 to generate a 4 percent increase over the previous year. Also, Adidas opened its largest Sport Performance store May 7 in New York, where the recently introduced adidas by Stella McCartney line is located near the entrance to the two-story location. The store's offerings lean heavily toward apparel and include men's, women's and children's clothing in addition to footwear.


McCartney, who is the daughter of music legend Paul McCartney, isn't the only designer the company has partnered with lately. There is the Y-3 line, a collaboration with Yohji Yamamoto. The company also offers a line of apparel called Respect ME developed with rapper Missy Elliott.


A catalog presumably will be a good place to market these lines in the same way Nike has prominently displayed its apparel line developed with tennis player Serena Williams in its Nike Women catalogs.


At the time of the Nike launch, Patrick O'Neill, general manager of Nike Direct, told DM News that a catalog can do a better job of relating the Nike Women story than a store.


"Visually, [the catalog] makes that connection stronger than we have in some retail channels," O'Neill said. "Our retail partners do an excellent job. This just kind of slams it home."


There are signs that Adidas plans to continue to build its apparel offerings. In a May 2 statement announcing that Adidas is selling its Salomon brand to Amer Sports Corp. for $624 million, Hainer said: "Now is the time to focus even more on our core strength in the athletic footwear and apparel market."


There is room to increase the apparel business in the United States. Apparel accounts for about one-third of Adidas' overall U.S. sales and footwear two-thirds, according to a May 10 article in Women's Wear Daily. Apparel represents about half the business globally.


Chantal Todé covers catalog and retail news and BTB marketing for DM News and DM News.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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