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Sportswear giant Adidas North America said recently it is expanding its North Portland campus. The Greely Avenue site will increase to accommodate 2,800 staff, up from the current 1,700.
Headcount was around 800 just three years ago.
The firm has received nearly 500,000 job applications in North America so far in 2017, and it says employee retention rate is at an all-time high.
Adidas has leased 80,000 square feet in Montgomery Park in Northwest Portland, as well as space in the Grand Central Bakery building in North Portland and in the Eastside Exchange just east of the Broadway Bridge. It has recently added a Maker Lab in the middle of campus and a "collaboration center" connecting two existing buildings.
Just as Nike has doubled down on Washington County with a massive campus expansion, so Adidas says it is dedicated to the Overlook neighborhood in North Portland.
Sales are up and the company has earned some street cred. Adidas has had good sales of Originals (such as the NMD C2, Tubular Doom and Parley EQT), Running shoes (such as the UltraBoost All Terrain) and Athletics (the Z.N.E. Pulse Collection).
Adidas also opened more than 1,500 new branded spaces at stores such as Dick's Sporting Goods and Foot Locker, as well as a new Originals stores in trendy Venice, Calif. and in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. The firm attributed the growth to better cooperation with the mothership in Germany and sticking to its 2020 global business strategy Creating the New.
Adidas recently made earnings projections for the 2017 financial year of 17 to 19 percent. Its Q3 results had sales of Adidas brand in North America up 31 percent.
In the U.S., Adidas sponsors such sports as Major League Soccer, the National Hockey League, USA Volleyball and USA Rugby. In football, the company boasted of signing eight first-round picks in the NFL draft, including No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett, the first time the company has had a number one draft pick.
Direct to consumer
Jennifer Nolfi, executive director, Center for Retail Leadership at the PSU School of Business, says Adidas is booming because they did a few things very well.
"Their collaboration with celebrities and musical artists as well as athletes has really helped. For example, with (Trail Blazer) Damian Lillard and the Yeezy shoes (with Kanye West). They tapped into a vibe that resonated with young people, and that builds brand loyalty early."
They must have done something right when a pair of Yeezy Boost 350s sell for $1,300 on the aftermarket. As sales have slowed of retro Stan Smiths and Superstars (a giant model of which sits outside the west building on Greely Avenue) sales of running and training shoes have replaced them.
Nolfi said Adidas has also invested in people to reduce the time to market. "They understand the direct to consumer model, whether it's through online purchases or their own retail stores." She puts much of this down to Mark King, president of Adidas North America.
"All brands are working to understand their target consumer, but with Mark King that focus is also on innovation."
Of the type of roles played by the people who will fill the expanded campus, Nolfi says from the looks of the job listings, the focus is on merchandisers, operations, design and sales.
"We (at PSU) work closely with them, and all the apparel headquarters. We have Athletic and Outdoors certifications at undergrad and graduate levels. They want our students because they are good at data analytics, they can visualize it, and they want them for their problem-solving skills. And for their passion for the industry and the product."
Nolfi worked at Prosper Portland and knows Adidas has had a master plan for the campus for a number of years. The company has just been waiting to execute it.
As for their current Greely facilities, she says it's crowded. "They're sitting on top of each other. We have meetings there and you used to easily find parking, but not now."
Reporter, The Business Tribune
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