SO LONG KOBE: Adidas and Kobe Bryant have ended the 23-year-old NBA star’s endorsement deal after a six-year run. An Adidas spokeswoman described the split as “a joint decision” and “amicable.” “We’re always evaluating athletes to see if they match our brand values. But we’re not specifically looking for someone to replace Kobe,” she said. This year, Adidas signed a lifetime endorsement deal with the Orlando Magic’s Tracy McGrady, the spokeswoman noted. This fall, McGrady will star in his first global advertising campaign for Adidas. For 2003, the company plans to have multiple global basketball campaigns, instead of one as has been the norm in the past.
ON THE UP AND UP: Swedish women’s and men’s fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz on Monday said group sales increased 19 percent in June compared with the same period last year. H&M sales rose 21 percent in June 2001 but this June’s performance was the strongest for H&M since it logged a 20 percent gain last November. The firm doesn’t break down sales on a same-store basis.
IVILLAGE FORGES SALES STREAM: Women’s media network iVillage Inc. said Tuesday it has struck a marketing agreement with American Homeowners Association that will bring iVillage minimum monthly payments of $20,000 from AHA, plus an equal share of revenue from AHA memberships sold to iVillage visitors in excess of a 1,100-member minimum. In the month prior to the deal’s announcement, iVillage signed an average of 65 AHA members daily. Stamford, Conn.-based AHA, which provides its members with various legal, financial and shopping services, will receive at least eight million monthly impressions on iVillage.com.