Adidas brushed aside Chinese calls in March for a boycott of its products and elevated its sales outlook this year, saying it expects upcoming sporting events to generate robust demand for new products.
But the German sportswear company has also been trying to win back Chinese shoppers after it was caught up in an uproar with multiple Western companies over their stances on China's Xinjiang region, Quartz reported Saturday.
Chief executive officer Kasper Rorsted on Saturday said Adidas saw a "significant drop in traffic across physical and digital channels at the end of March" in China, but added shoppers had started to return in the past couple of weeks.
Western companies including Adidas and rival Nike, have faced online criticisms over past comments saying they would not source cotton from Xinjiang. That following reports of human rights violations against the region's Uyghur Muslims.
Shares in Adidas, which had retreated in recent weeks on worries about revenues in China, rose 7%, the biggest gain on Germany's blue-chip index.
According to Jefferies analyst James Grzinic, a slight "upping of 2021 organic growth guidance indicates that concerns around the damage to Chinese prospects appear overblown," Reuters reported.
Adidas is expecting major sporting events to tide over demand while the company weaves through continued lockdowns in Europe and boycotts in China.
Greater China represents 24% of sales for Adidas brand and generally carries a higher margin. In terms of sourcing, China contributes to around 15% for Adidas footwear and 20% for apparel, analyst Francesca DiPasquantonio said in a research note.
The German company's sales in the first three months this year soared by a fifth, hitting $6.35 billion. This figure was better than Wall Street had predicted.