Reebok line sports Armani name

Reebok is stepping up its presence in the Gulf with trainers tailored for a trip to the Burj Khalifa.

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DUBAI // Reebok, the sportswear brand owned by the German giant Adidas, is stepping up its presence in the Gulf with trainers tailored for a trip to the Burj Khalifa. The company is planning the launch in Dubai this year of a range of Emporio Armani-designed shoes, which will be available at Armani and Reebok stores across the region, including those around the world's tallest building. The Burj Khalifa also houses the first Armani brand hotel.

The designer-footwear plans were announced yesterday as Reebok said it would nearly triple by 2014 the number of stores it operates in the Gulf from the present 14. Osman Ayaz, Adidas Group's managing director for emerging markets, said the market was ideal for Reebok's EA7 collection because of the Armani's popularity and the local affection for big brands. "The GCC region is different from the rest of the other areas of Adidas group," he said during the launch at the Armani Hotel. "The Gulf region is very brand-conscious."

Sales have lagged for most of the world's retailers over the past year, but many brands, including Adidas, have seen signs of recovery in the first quarter of this year. Adidas's revenue rose 4 per cent to £2.67 billion (Dh11.96bn) during the first three months of the year compared with the same period last year, while Reebok's rose 1 per cent to ?376 million in the period. The GCC in particular is one of Reebok's most resilient markets and has consistently been in the top five regions in terms of business growth, said Roland Auschel, the chief sales officer for Adidas Group.

So far this year, Reebok's sales in the GCC have been in the "double digits" over last year, said David Reilly, the chief executive of RBK Middle East, the local partner company. Sales to date are also slightly higher than in 2008, the peak year for the region's retailers, he said.