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Business

Adidas Faces Plummeting North America Sales

German sporting goods maker Adidas-Salomon AG said on Wednesday that orders dropped five percent in 2003 chiefly due to a decline in North America, Adidas' most important market. However, Chief Executive Herbert Hainer reiterated its 2004 goals of three to five percent sales growth and net profit growth of at least ten percent and said business in the first two months of 2004 had met expectations. In its troubled North American market, orders stood 31 percent lower in euro terms. Hainer said Adidas had been slow to respond to a changing market in the face of tough competition. "We suffered from being slow to adapt to a shift in demand from many of our customers," Hainer said at the firm's annual press conference at its headquarters in Bavaria. "We have taken the necessary steps to see that these mistakes don't happen again," he added. Hainer outlined plans to shake up its U.S. business and get it back on track by opening 15 new Adidas stores and improving distribution and marketing.