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It’s that time of the year again. Every March, the adidas Group announces its annual results to the public. I have been busy preparing for all the questions journalists will have for me this week. As usual, the financial community and business media are eagerly waiting to chat about margins, comp store sales and currency impacts.

78% of 2014 adidas sales were generated with products launched last year
78% of 2014 adidas sales were generated with products launched last year

But there’s much more to the story: in addition to the financial details, our Investor Relations team puts together a comprehensive Annual Report which offers a fantastic overview of how our company works. In fact, our IR team has won many awards in recent years for the report’s content, design and storytelling approach – which makes it a very interesting read even for those of us who don’t have that degree in finance.

In order to get ready for the calls from journalists, I spent some time going through the report in detail and compiled a list of facts you might not have heard about so far:

So before those phones at my desk begin to ring, here’s a list of my top 7:
  1. It’s official. The Stan Smith is the most successful adidas shoe of all time. Since its launch in 1973, 40 million pairs have been sold. Talking about impressive numbers: in 2014, we sold 3 million pairs of ZX Flux and 1 million pairs of Reebok NANOs.
  2. Ever wondered who owns our company? It is estimated that there are approx. 95,000 shareholders out there owning more than 209 million shares of adidas AG. 34% of them are based in the US (more on pp. 38 of the report). This year, they will get a dividend of EUR 1.50 per share – pending approval from the Annual General Meeting, that is.
  3. What do our colleagues Jennifer Thomas, Minna Philipson, Aurelién Longo, Sandra Schusser, Gerd Manz and Alyce Menzel have in common? They are all featured in this year’s Annual Report based on the difference they make for our company’s success. Make sure to check out their stories.
  4. 78% of 2014 adidas sales were generated with products launched last year, which clearly shows how innovation-driven our industry is. In our Annual Report, you can also find an overview of key innovations introduced in 2014, upcoming product launches and awards won by our various brands.
The financial community and business media are eagerly waiting to chat about margins, comp store sales and currency impacts
 Business media is eagerly waiting to chat about margins, and currency impacts

What is the global economic environment we are competing in? How is consumer sentiment developing in our key markets? Our Annual Report has all the answers. It also casts a sharp eye into the developments in our industry specifically. The good news: the sporting goods industry continues to be a growth industry (more on pp. 103).

  1. In 2014, we invested EUR 1.923 billion into marketing. That’s 13.2% of our sales. And we’ll invest even more in 2015, especially in North America and Western Europe. Great news for the exposure of our brands.
  2. 53,731 people work for the adidas Group globally. That’s more people than there are seats in the football stadium in Nuremberg (we are not quite enough to fill the Allianz Arena, Maracana or Wembley – yet!). Our average age is 30 years, driven by the fact that the majority of employees work in our 2,913 stores globally.

It all comes down to you

So, how do you like the new report? What is your favourite story? And what surprised you the most? Here it is

To find out more about these and many other topics I suggest reading the brand-new Annual Report. There is even a glossary included in case any of the financial terms sound foreign to you (pp. 258).