There’s no bigger vehicle for fear-mongering in retail than scary tales about the downturn of China’s economy. Maybe that’s why Adidas doesn’t seem to have listened to the recent news when announcing its expansion plans for the country.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Colin Currie, head of Adidas’ China operations, announced in a press conference that the sportswear company would be adding 3,000 more storefronts to the 9,000 it already operates inside the People’s Republic. Currie emphasized that these new stores wouldn’t just be rehashes of existing designs but targeted implementations of locations that focus on running, soccer and tennis equipment and apparel.
It’s details like these that Currie hopes can help Adidas find revenue, even when the Chinese economy doesn’t seem to be making it any easier.
“We are cautiously optimistic, but we’re far more on the optimistic side,” Currie said during the briefing, via WSJ.
It’s one thing to say that Adidas is confident but another thing to actually mean it. A pledge to open 3,000 stores certainly seems like an earnest statement that can’t be easily walked back, and USA Today explained that changing demographics might be why Adidas is so ready to hitch its wagon to the down-right-now Chinese economy. As more and more Chinese consumers enter the middle class, Adidas has planned, since at least 2010, to take advantage of the growing desire for sportswear, not just for fitness but as everyday dress as well.
“We expect two-thirds of our growth to be from consumers in the lower-tier cities as they become attracted to sportswear — not just for fitness but for easy casual wear,” Currie said at an event in 2010.
If it’s any consolation for Adidas and the Chinese economy at large, odds are both parties will succeed or fail together.