"Our financial results for the first quarter reflect the challenging start to 2014 which we had expected," said chief executive Herbert Hainer.

"Strong performances particularly in the emerging markets and in our own retail were masked by strategic changes to how we go to market at Taylor Made-Adidas golf as well as adverse currency effects," Hainer said.

"Looking in depth through our results, however, there are many positive underlying trends. Therefore, we can look forward to an accelerated period of growth and momentum for our group for the remainder of 2014."

In the period from January to March, net profit fell by 33.8 per cent to 204 million euros.

Underlying or operating profit tumbled 31.4 per cent to 303 million euros and sales were down 5.8 per cent at 3.533 billion euros.

"While we still have to be wary of currencies and their effects on our financials, I expect a strong second quarter to point the way forward to a sustained period of growth and momentum for our group," said chief executive Hainer.

In concrete terms, group sales were projected to rise "at a high-single-digit rate on a currency-neutral basis in 2014," Adidas said.

In particular, this year's major sporting event, notably the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, would provide positive stimulus to sales.

"Group sales development will also be favourably impacted by our high exposure to fast-growing emerging markets as well as the further expansion of retail," the statement said.

At the same time, currency effects were expected to have a "significant negative impact on the group's top-line development in euro terms."

As a result, full-year net profit would come out at 830-930 million euros, compared to 839 million euros in 2013, the group said.


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