Sales dipped in April for two key Adidas franchises, the Superstar and the Stan Smith, which also gradually slowed throughout 2016. But one industry insider believes this shouldn’t be a cause of concern for the athletic behemoth.
“Every product has a natural lifecycle of how long it’s going to last, and the growth rate on both of them was pretty strong over the last year,” Matt Powell, VP and sports industry analyst with The NPD Group, explained to Footwear News. “It’s hard to keep growing on top of big numbers. It’s not illogical that the growth rate would start to slow.”
According to The NPD Group Retail Tracking Service, sales of the Superstar grew six times year-over-year in the U.S. by the end of 2016, and the Stan Smith experienced five times the growth from its sales in 2015. But in April 2017 compared with the same time last year, the Superstar sales increased just 24 percent, and the Stan Smith saw a 6.5 percent decline.
Despite the two shoes’ diminishing sales, the Superstar remained Adidas No. 1 overall seller in April, according to The NPD Group, and the Stan Smith remained in its top five best-selling styles.
And Adidas is making up for the Superstar and Stan Smith sales drops, with other styles performing well in retail, particularly NMD, Tubular and EQT looks.
“Adidas is doing a great job of diversifying itself from a few styles that were significantly driving the business, the Superstar and Stan Smith in 2016, to many other styles now, which is a much healthier place to be,” Powell said. “Even though Stan Smith and Superstar slowed in their rate of growth, Adidas accelerated.”
According to The NPD Group, Adidas’ footwear sales for 2016 grew 83 percent, and the brand’s sales for April 2017 — where the Superstar and Stan Smith slowdown occurred — grew 99 percent over the same period of time in 2016.
But Powell still believes the brand needs to be careful how it handles the Superstar and Stan Smith franchises to avoid having retailers mark them down or drop them altogether.
“These are huge franchises, and the key for any brand is to manage their franchises so they remain healthy,” Powell said. “In the case of Superstar, Adidas has the opportunity to keep growing this franchise. But they’ve got to start to dial back how much product they’re putting out in the market. In the case of Stan [Smith] and going negative, they probably overshot it a little bit, but they still have the chance to save that franchise as well.”