Plans for an expansion of Reebok's headquarters and Canton have begun, the CEO of parent company Adidas said Thursday.
Architects have begun designing an expansion of Reebok International's headquarters in Canton, the CEO of the athletic gear manufacturer's German parent company said Thursday.
Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer said the company is committed to the Boston area. Adidas acquired Reebok for $3.8 billion in 2006 in a deal that created the world's second-largest sporting goods manufacturer behind industry leader Nike Inc.
``We plan to be here in the Boston area a long time,'' Hainer told the Boston College Chief Executives' Club of Boston luncheon on Thursday.
Hainer did not give details of the scope or the timing of the expansion.
``First and foremost, we are looking to expand the business around the world,'' he said. ``But the midterm plans for the Reebok brand are growing our business internationally, and then here in the U.S. as well. And this might mean that we expand the campus.''
Reebok has ample room to grow next to its Royall Street headquarters abutting Route 128, which it opened in 2000. A real estate trust affiliated with Reebok acquired the 24-acre former Instron Corp. headquarters in 2004 for $15 million, and Reebok moved some of its financial services and customer service employees there last year.
``Luckily we have enough land that we can expand and our architects are trying to put out the first ideas,'' Hainer said.
Hainer ruled out the possibility of relocating Adidas' U.S. headquarters from Portland, Ore., to Canton.
Since Adidas acquired Reebok, the Canton workforce has expanded from 1,150 to 1,200.
But that number will dip in April when 100 employees in the customer service, credit and collections, accounts receivable and customer compliance departments relocate to a new Adidas facility being built in Spartanburg, S.C.
Reebok also plans to move 230 warehouse jobs in Stoughton and Norwood to the Spartanburg facility in 2009 after being rewarded up to $42 million in tax credits from local officials.
Adidas' top priority since acquiring Reebok has been expanding its international sales, Hainer said. Prior to the merger, Reebok derived more than half of its revenues from the U.S. and United Kingdom, with less than 10 percent of sales from Asia.
Since then, it's rapidly scaled up its retailing presence in the region, opening 190 stores in India in 2007 for a total of more than 600. Reebok executives have said they see the potential for up to 1,110 stores in India by 2010.
The company also has an aggressive growth plan for China, with more than 300 store openings planned this year.
Reebok has been buying back distribution rights in Asia to regain control of which retailers carry its product. The brand's reputation has suffered because Reeboks were being sold in discount outlets, Hainer said.
Steve Adams may be reached at email@example.com.
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