The interview


“Asics seeks to expand in mature countries:
the U.S., Europe and Japan”



Shiro Tamai, Director of global retail at Asics.


  • The Japanese firm Asics, once a shoe manufacturer, is moving towards a direct retail strategy, with 300 fully-owned stores in 15 countries. Asics now offers a specialist focus of running products, a dramatic comparison to other sporting goods retailers, with wider product ranges. Global Retail News met Shiro Tamai, Director of global retail at Asics.


  • GRNews: Asics is the acronym of the Latin phrase “ Anima Sana In Corpore Sano ”. Please explain the reasons?
    Shiro Tamai:
    The Kobe-based Asics was created in 1949 by Kihachiro Onitsuka, a survivor of the 2nd World War. Sporting values were deep in his life and spirit. He took inspiration from the world around him. He found the importance of grip when designing basketball shoes for athletes, creating the “Onitsuka Tiger” basketball shoe by mimicking the suction cups of octopus and allowing quick stops and starts.


  • GRNews: Asics sells shoes and sportswear. What is the largest category?
    Shiro Tamai :
    Since runners are the core target for Asics, running shoes are our sales priority. For 60 years we have applied science with body mechanics to adapt our innovations, adjusting products for regional preferences.


GRNews: What about Asics financial results?
Shiro Tamai:
In the year ending March 2013, sales grew by 7.9% to 280 billion yens (2.74 billion dollars *). Despite uncertain environment with the debt crisis in Europe and the slowdown in emerging markets, sales on a local currency basis rose across all our operating regions (Japan, Americas, Europe, Oceania and Asia). In the quarter ending late December 2013, Asics sales jumped by 25.1%. By 2016, Asics targets 400 billion yens in consolidated sales (3.92 billion dollars).


GRNews: Whereas Asics was formerly a shoemanufacturer, it now focuses on retail business. Why?
Shiro Tamai:
90% of Asics shoes are sold in multibrand stores. In the last few years, we have decided to expand retail space under our control, (i.e. fully-owned, franchised stores and shop-in-shops).


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Summary of

Global Retail News,

April 2014

Page 1, 2

Who were the emerging market consumers in 2014?


Page 3

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Page 4

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Page 5

European DIY retailers Kingfisher and Adeo are becoming global players


Page 8

Can apparel retailers be profitable in South Africa?


Page 9

Ikea expands its operations in South Korea, in India, in China and in Indonesia.


Page 11

Global footprints. What are the expansion trends and drivers of success in the retail sector?