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Takeaway: Adidas is in denial. UA joins recent athlete endorsement incidents with Phelps arrest. AMZN and AAPL lead mobile.

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

ADIDAS IS IN DENIAL ABOUT WHY IT'S LOSING SHARE

AdiBok, NKE, UA - Adidas fights to draw top talent to headquarters in sleepy Bavarian town

(http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/09/29/uk-adidas-germany-insight-idUKKCN0HN0B720140929)

  • "Adidas needs world-class designers, brand experts and technical whizz kids to improve its image against U.S. rival Nike, but persuading them to move to its headquarters in rural Germany is difficult. Adidas acknowledges it is hard to recruit at its headquarters near the Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach, particularly for design, marketing and digital roles, and admits it missed trends in the U.S. market, where Under Armour has just overtaken it as No. 2 behind Nike. Nike's better than expected earnings on Sept. 25 underscored its ascendancy."

Takeaway: Let's be clear about something, Adidas is not losing share because its headquarters is in a sleepy town. If anything we'd argue that its town is sleepy because the company is failing to drive the culture of the company. Nike is crushing it, and it's based in Beaverton, OR -- not exactly a cultural mecca. Yes, it's 20 min from Portland and a short drive to Seattle. But Adidas is a short drive from several major towns (as Adi CEO points out in this article), and it also has an office in Portland with 1,000 employees -- a good deal of them poached from Nike.   Our point here is that Adidas' problem goes far beyond where people hang their hat.  First it should look really close at its processes and ideals. Then it can worry about where the people that execute on them are physically located.

UA - Michael Phelps Arrested for DUI

(http://bleacherreport.com/tb/df3RQ?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=daily-radar)

  • "Michael Phelps was arrested for driving under the influence in Baltimore, Maryland"

Takeaway: We hate to call out something like this, but the fact of the matter is that with the string of bad behavior in professional sports over the past month, this event will garner special attention. Nike dropped both Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice after their 'incidents', though we'd be surprised to see UnderArmour take much action against Michael Phelps. He'll make a public apology, and say he'll never do it again -- just like when he caught his first DUI at 19 in 2004, and when he was caught smoking pot in 2009. He'll get a fourth chance.

Mobile Commerce Callouts

This ranking of the top mobile commerce players is interesting to us on many levels.  1) Amazon and Apple combined equal the next eight companies on the list in total sales volume. 2) Apple and Google Play make sense as having a high conversion rate (high traffic and low ticket), but Amazon's 7% is extremely impressive -- especially for a company with an $82 average ticket.  Average for the other retailers on the list is about 2%. 3) Sears is actually on the list of top 10, with an impressive 100% growth over last year. 4) Chinese mobile retailers have far superior ASPs than we have the US.

Retail Callouts (10/1): AdiBok, NKE, UA, Mobile Sales - 10 1 chart1

 Source: Internet Retailer

OTHER NEWS

AdiBok- ADIDAS AG TO INITIATE A MULTI-YEAR SHAREHOLDER RETURN PROGRAMME

(http://www.adidas-group.com/en/media/news-archive/press-releases/2014/adidas-ag-initiate-multi-year-shareholder-return-programme/)

  • "With approval of the Supervisory Board, the Executive Board of adidas AG resolved today to return up to € 1.5 billion in total to adidas AG shareholders over the next three years, primarily in the form of share buybacks. In addition, adidas AG confirms its stated commitment to pay an annual dividend to shareholders in the range of 20% to 40% of net income attributable to shareholders."

HIBB - Jared Briskin Promoted to Chief Merchant at Hibbett

(http://www.wwd.com/business-news/human-resources/jared-briskin-promoted-to-chief-merchant-at-hibbett-7961334?module=Retail-latest)

  • "Jared Briskin has been promoted to senior vice president and chief merchant of Hibbett Sports Inc., the Birmingham, Ala.-based sporting goods retailer."
  • "Briskin was most recently vice president and divisional merchandise manager of footwear and equipment and has been with the company for 16 years."

DLIA - Teen Retailer Delia's Seeks Buyer

(http://www.wwd.com/business-news/mergers-acquisitions/delias-inc-is-exploring-a-possible-sale-of-the-company-7960006?module=hp-topstories)

  • "With a stalled turnaround effort and moves to recapitalize the company failing to reverse its fortunes, Delia’s Inc. is looking for a buyer."

Boot Barn Files for IPO

(http://www.wwd.com/footwear-news/business/boot-barn-files-for-ipo-7961228?module=Footwear%20News-Business-main)

  • "The Irvine, Calif.-based retailer has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering."
  • "While no terms were given for the offering, the move could potentially raise up to $86.25 million. The company plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BOOT."

SHOO - Madden Acquires Mexico Business

(http://www.wwd.com/footwear-news/business/madden-acquires-mexico-business-7961047?module=Footwear%20News-Business-second)

  • "Steve Madden is buying up its Mexico-based licensee."
  • "Executives expect that the $15 million acquisition of SM Mexico, which distributes and markets Steve Madden product in wholesale and retail stores, will boost efforts to grow the brand's presence throughout the Mexican market."

SPLS - Staples launches nationwide tour to boost employee productivity

(http://www.retailingtoday.com/article/staples-launches-nationwide-tour-boost-employee-productivity)

  • "Staples has kicked off a nationwide tour called "Refresh. Recharge. Refuel." The tour aims to encourage office workers across the country to take a break from the daily grind by visiting a large-scale, popup break room stocked with free snacks, coffee and other beverages."

SPLS - Staples closes 15 stores in Canada

(http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/staples-closes-15-stores-in-canada/article20867209/)

  • "Staples Canada has closed 15 of its 331 stores in this country as the office supplies retailer feels the brunt of more business shifting online."
  • "The closings are part of a broader move by U.S. parent Staples Inc. to shut as much as 12 per cent of roughly 1,800 North American stores and downsize others as it struggles to improve its bottom line in a fast-changing market."