Adidas might sell its struggling Reebok brand, potentially taking advantage of the strength of athletic goods, which have been a bright spot in apparel during the Covid-19 crisis.
On Monday, Adidas (ticker: ADDYY) said it was reviewing Reebok’s future, which could include a sale. The news comes ahead of the company’s five-year blueprint, which it is set to present in March, although the German athletic giant said it could ultimately decide to keep the brand.
Adidas purchased Reebok for $3.6 billion (A$4.76 billion) in 2006, as it looked to extend its reach in the U.S. But the process wasn’t a smooth one, and Adidas Chief Executive Kasper Rørsted announced a turnaround plan for Reebok shortly after he took the helm in 2016. On the one hand, that has been a success in that Reebok once again became profitable, two years ahead of schedule, and last year increased U.S. sales by double digits.
In another sense, though, Reebok remains a weak point in Adidas’s portfolio. It has lagged behind during the pandemic, with third-quarter sales falling 12.3%, nearly double the flagship brand’s 6.7% decline. Some analysts estimate that Reebok could sell for as little as $2.3 billion (A$3.04 billion), well under what Adidas paid for it.
While many investors have called on Adidas to divest itself of the brand before, now could be a particularly auspicious time for such a move. The pandemic has decimated demand for clothing and accessories in general, as people work and learn at home, but athleisure has bucked that trend.
Companies such as Nike (NKE) and Lululemon Athletica (LULU) have seen sales shrink much less dramatically than peers this year, and have been rewarded with rallies of 34.5% and 52%, respectively. Partner and third-party retailers, including Foot Locker (FL) and Nordstrom (JWN), have highlighted strength in fitness categories, as well, in recent earnings reports.
Athleisure isn’t a new trend, but consumers’ renewed focus on health and comfort during Covid has been a major tailwind. That has led for renewed calls for other companies to sell their outperforming fitness-focused labels, such as Gap’s (GPS) Athleta, although Gap said it plans to hold on to the brand.
That means that if Adidas were to sell Reebok in the near future, it could fetch a higher price, especially if it can continue to show improvement throughout the holiday season.
That would be welcome news for the stock. Compared with Nike and Lululemon, Adidas hasn’t done as well. Its American depositary receipts are up just over 7% year to date, and the European shares have been laggards.
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Amid looming rate rises, there are reasons to be cheerful as mortgage holders head into 2023
Mortgage holders should brace themselves for more pain as the Reserve Bank of Australia board prepares to meet tomorrow for the first time this year.
Most economists and the major banks are predicting a rise of 25 basis points will be announced, although the Commonwealth Bank suggests that the RBA may take the unusual step of a 40 basis point rise to bring the interest rate up to a more conventional 3.5 percent. This would allow the RBA to step back from further rate rises for the next few months as it assesses the impact of tightening monetary policy on the economy.
The decision by the RBA board to make consecutive rate rises since April last year is an attempt to wrestle inflation down to a more manageable 3 or 4 percent. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that the inflation rate rose to 7.8 percent over the December quarter, the highest it has been since 1990, reflected in higher prices for food, fuel and construction.
Higher interest rates have coincided with falling home values, which Ray White chief economist Nerida Conisbee says are down 6.1 percent in capital cities since peaking in March 2022. The pain has been greatest in Sydney, where prices have dropped 10.8 percent since February last year. Melbourne and Canberra recorded similar, albeit smaller falls, while capitals like Adelaide, which saw property prices fall 1.8 percent, are less affected.
Although prices may continue to decline, Ms Conisbee (below) said there are signs the pace is slowing and that inflation has peaked.
“December inflation came in at 7.8 per cent with construction, travel and electricity costs being the biggest drivers. It is likely that we are now at peak,” Ms Conisbee said.
“Many of the drivers of high prices are starting to be resolved. Shipping costs are now down almost 90 per cent from their October 2021 peak (as measured by the Baltic Dry Index), while crude oil prices have almost halved from March 2022. China is back open and international migration has started up again.
“Even construction costs look like they are close to plateau. Importantly, US inflation has pulled back from its peak of 9.1 per cent in June to 6.5 per cent in December, with many of the drivers of inflation in this country similar to Australia.”
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