In the first quarter of 2012, adidas revenues increased 14% on a currency-neutral basis as a result of double-digit sales increases in wholesale, retail and other businesses. Group revenues grew 17% to EUR 3.824 billion in the first quarter of 2012 from EUR 3.273 billion in 2011.
Group sales increase was driven by double-digit sales growth in all segments. In the first quarter currency-neutral wholesale revenues increased 10% due to double-digit sales growth at adidas. Currency-neutral retail sales increased 16% versus the prior year, driven by 9% comparable store sales growth. Revenues in other businesses were up 32%.
Currency translation effects had a positive impact on segmental sales in euro terms. Wholesale revenues increased 13% to € 2.614 billion from € 2.320 billion in 2011. Retail sales rose 20% to € 693 million versus € 577 million in the prior year. Sales in other businesses grew 37% to € 517 million in 2011 they were € 376 million.
In the first quarter of 2012, currency-neutral adidas group sales grew in all regions. Revenues in Western Europe increased 7%. In European emerging markets, group sales increased 15%. Sales for the adidas group in North America grew 11% due to strong increases in the USA. Sales in Greater China increased 26%. In other Asian markets they grew 26%, driven by strong double-digit increases in Japan and South Korea. In Latin America, sales grew 14%. In most regions, currency translation effects had a positive impact on sales in euro terms.
The gross margin of the adidas group decreased 0.7 percentage points to 47.7% in the first quarter of 2012. Last year it was 48.5% for the same period. Gross profit for the adidas group grew 15% to € 1.826 billion versus € 1.587 billion in the prior year. Group operating profit increased 30% to € 409 million in the first quarter of 2012 versus € 313 million in 2011. As a percentage of sales, the operating margin of the adidas group was up 1.1 percentage points to 10.7%. Last year it was 9.6% for the same period. Other operating expenses as a percentage of sales decreased 1.6 percentage points to 38.4% from 40% in 2011. Financial income increased 78% to € 8 million in the first quarter of 2012 from € 5 million in the prior year, mainly due to an increase in interest income. Financial expenses decreased 16% to € 28 million in the first quarter of 2012. In 2011 they were € 33 million. The decrease in negative exchange rate effects contributed to the decline.
Income before taxes (IBT) for the adidas group increased 36% to € 389 million from € 285 million in 2011. In the first quarter of 2012, basic and diluted earnings per share amounted to € 1.38, representing an increase of 38%. In 2011 they were € 1.00. Group inventories increased 17% to € 2.375 billion at the end of March 2012 versus € 2.033 billion in 2011.
At the end of March 2012, group receivables increased 10% to € 2.366 billion as a result of the group sales growth. In 2011 group receivables were € 2.155 billion. On a currency-neutral basis, receivables were up 8%. This growth is lower than the 13% currency-neutral wholesale-related sales increase in the first quarter of 2012 and mirrors strict discipline in the group’s trade terms management and concerted collection efforts.