Adidas plans to speed up production and allow shoppers to customise more shoes and clothes, aiming to accelerate sales and profit growth over the next five years.
The German sportswear firm, which has been losing ground for years to Nike, said it was testing automated production to shift manufacturing from Asia closer to consumers. "We will bring production back to where the main markets are," said chief executive Herbert Hainer, saying the six weeks it took to ship from Asia was too long. "Robots can be everywhere."
Manufacturing closer to consumers should allow it to react more quickly to fast changing trends - like floral prints this spring - as it seeks to challenge market leader Nike as well as retailers like H&M which is moving into sportswear.
Adidas said it would extend innovations pioneered by its teen fashion brand which gets products into store in 45 days, compared to an industry standard of 12-18 months.