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Russia to Be Adidas' Top European Market

Russia and the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States are set to become Adidas AG's number-one European market within two years, the German activewear giant said in Moscow Tuesday.

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PARIS — Russia and the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States are set to become Adidas AG's number-one European market within two years, the German activewear giant said in Moscow Tuesday.

Tonight, on the eve of the UEFA Champions League soccer final between Adidas-sponsored team Chelsea FC and Manchester United FC, Herbert Hainer, Adidas Group's chief executive officer and chairman, said sales are growing so fast in Russia that the country has the potential to claim the number-one spot by 2010.

First-quarter revenues in Russia and the CIS region, which includes the Ukraine, grew by 50 percent on a currency-neutral basis versus a year ago, Adidas said. Russia and the CIS countries are among the group's top five European markets, along with Germany, France and the U.K., according to a spokeswoman.

Adidas claims to be the market leader in Russia, with its share said to be more than twice the size of its nearest competitor, Nike. "We are well positioned with all our brands in Russia," stated Hainer. The group also claims market leadership in the Ukraine.

To continue its strong growth trajectory, the group plans to increase its freestanding door count in Russia and CIS countries to 750 by yearend from 460 at the end of last year.
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