Reebok International feels comfortable stepping out onto any surface. The company, a subsidiary of Germany's adidas AG, has long been at home in sporting arenas as a top US maker of athletic shoes. In addition to its namesake sportswear and accessories, Reebok caters to hockey aficionados through its Canadian Reebok-CCM Hockey division, and its Sports Licensed Division. It operates more than 220 retail stores. Reebok, which has been credited with igniting the aerobics craze of the early 1980s, has fallen out of step since then. Under adidas, the company is trying to regain traction in the athletic shoe and apparel market.
Reebok is aiming to grow sales and market share by participating in the craze for body toning athletic shoes and apparel. To that end, in 2009 it launched EastyTone walking shoes and RunTone running shoes, which claim to tone the wearer's bottom and leg muscles. The toning line exceeded sales expectations with the company claiming to have sold millions of pairs. Buoyed by the success of toning shoes, in 2010 Reebok extended the EastyTone line to men and launched EasyTone Apparel, a collection of tops and bottoms designed to create resistance as the wearer moves and thus tone key muscles. However, the Federal Trade Commission knocked the legs out from under Reebok in September 2011 when it accused the company of deceptive advertising. Reebok agreed to pay $25 million to customers who bought the popular shoes.
Also in 2010 the company launched a new training shoe under the ZigTech brand, described as "an energy drink for the feet." The ZigTech shoe claims to reduce wear and tear in key leg muscles by as much as 20%, allowing wearers to train longer.
After two long decades of playing second fiddle to NIKE, Reebok's acquisition by adidas in 2006 for about $3.8 billion lent it the stature to compete head to head with its #1 nemesis in a battle of the global brands. With Reebok's brand strength in the US, adidas achieved a deeper reach there -- nearly doubling its sales in the US athletic shoe and apparel markets. Part of the strategy for adidas is to market Reebok collections to women and those who participate in American sports, while focusing on comfort and fit. adidas also plans to boost the Reebok-CCM Hockey and Rockport units while it invests more in marketing Reebok. Although adidas has made headway in rebuilding the Reebok brand to be more competitive and profitable, the parent said in 2009 that the unit's restructuring would likely be complete in four to five years. After a portfolio review, Reebok in January 2010 opted to sell off its Above The Rim (ATR) brand to Collective Brands, which operates Collective Licensing International that licenses its brands in more than 100 countries.
adidas' purchase of Reebok allowed adidas to hurdle the $10 billion sales mark for the first time in its history. adidas refers to Reebok as its "milestone acquisition." After the dust settled on the deal, Reebok continues to maintain its brand, Massachusetts headquarters, and its identity. – less