Reebok Makes 'Move' To Regain Lost Market Share

Reebok says it is readying two new technologies to launch in spring 2008, which it will support with a new brand campaign called "Your Move." Reebok declined to give any details about the new marketing message, but says it will run along with its existing "Run Easy" and "I am what I am" campaigns.

But observers say Reebok--which has lost as much as half its market share in the months leading up to and following its acquisition by Adidas--is still struggling to regain a distinct marketing message.

"It's been a difficult situation, and Reebok's loss of market share has gotten significantly worse throughout the first full year," says market analyst Chris Svezia of Susquehanna Financial Group. Historically, he says, Reebok's problems stemmed from its lack of focus, as well as attempts to be many things to many consumers.

"Now, it's a matter of Reebok attempting to rebuild the brand with innovative products, at a time when the retail market is much more difficult, with both Finish Line and Foot Locker. And the space is far more crowded--with Reebok's sister brands at Adidas, with Nike, and with New Balance."



Reebok hopes these new lines will provide that consumer spark. The first, SmoothFit technology, is aimed at boosting comfort by eliminating seams, both in shoes and apparel. It will also appear in performance and lifestyle footwear simultaneously. Shoes will include running gear like Premier SmoothFit Cushion ($95), as well as street wear, like the Classic Leather Slim Smooth ($85). SmoothFit performance apparel will be available for both running and tennis, ranging from $40 to $120.

HexRide, its second new technology, features a hexagonal, honeycomb-style build, which Reebok claims is "is one of the top strength-to-weight ratio constructions engineering can offer." Similar to its Hexalite technology, which was included only in heels or the forefront of shoes, HexRide now covers the entire shoe bottom, and will appear in performance running shoes.

Still, Svezia is skeptical. "It's still a big question of who its target market is," he says, "and lots of companies are talking about running products. In this retail environment, it's a lot easier to lose shelf space than it is to win it back."

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