Malcolm Graham
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Malcolm Graham in Asian Markets,

Adidas to open 3,000 stores in China by 2020

Adidas AG is planning to open 3,000 stores in China by 2020, shrugging off concerns that a slowdown in the Chinese economy will further hurt consumption.

The German sportswear giant is expanding to 12,000 stores in China from its current 9,000 and plans to more than double the cities where it sells its running gear and tennis shoes to more than 2,200, said Adidas China head Colin Currie in a news briefing Friday.

Mr. Currie said that Adidas is catering to China's economic upsides, such as new government policies to foster the soccer industry and population growth.

The company will zero in on China's smallest cities, many of which it expects to continue to urbanize even in the face of economic challenges, Mr. Currie said.

"We are cautiously optimistic, but we're far more on the optimistic side, " Mr. Currie said. Adidas executives plan to keep a close eye on business, tracking the company's sales data to see if there is any fallout across China, now its fastest-growing global market, he said.

Adidas is among a select number of companies in China that has continued to grow in China even as sales fall away for some foreign food-and-beverage companies, such as Yum Brands Inc., owner of the Pizza Hut and KFC franchises, and chocolate maker Hershey Co.

Adidas reported Thursday that its sales last year in the China region, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, increased 18% excluding foreign-exchange effects. In the fourth quarter, sales were up 16% excluding such effects. Much of the company's growth has come from aggressive expansion across China.

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