LONDON -- The Adidas Group said it returned to the black last year with a net profit of $5.3 million (9 million marks) on a 4.4 percent decline in sales to $1.5 billion (2.6 billion marks).

In 1992, the athletic footwear and apparel firm, based in Herzogenaurach, Germany, posted a net loss of 149 million marks on sales of 2.75 billion marks.

The improvement resulted partially from a stronger performance by the firm in the U.S.

The overall turnaround came despite extraordinary charges totaling $24 million (41 million marks) to cover the sale of factories in France and the restructuring of its North American operation.

While Adidas did not break out results for its divisions, a spokesman said that even though the North American operation was profitable at the operating level, it had an overall loss because of investment in the market. Sales in North America increased some 419.2 percent, to $291 million (497.3 million marks).

Including licensees, overall Adidas sales fell 1 percent last year to $2.3 billion (3.9 billion marks).

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