Byline: Valerie Seckler

NEW YORK — Reebok International Ltd. reported Tuesday that its U.S. apparel sales shot up 19.8 percent in 1994 to $150 million, bringing its worldwide apparel business for the year to $450 million.
The overall apparel figure is about 14 percent of Reebok’s companywide sales of $3.3 billion for the year ended Dec. 31.
As reported, Reebok is aiming to get 18 to 20 percent of its revenue from apparel in the next three-to-five years. “The apparel results are pretty respectable and they’ve been gaining momentum throughout the year,” said a financial analyst who requested anonymity. “They have a ways to go to get to the 18 percent mark, but I do believe they’ll get there within their target period.
“Apparel sales in 1994 grew at a 20 percent clip while overall sales grew 13 percent, so it’s easy to see where some of the momentum is coming from,” the analyst added.
For the fourth quarter, Reebok’s U.S. apparel revenue rose 24.2 percent to $38 million.
Paul Fireman, Reebok chairman and chief executive officer, said: “A critical piece of a successful sports strategy is sports apparel. Although we have for several years had a large, growing apparel business outside the U.S., only in the past two years have we made the step forward we needed in the U.S.
“The 19.8 percent increase in U.S. apparel sales in 1994 follows a 62.6 percent increase in 1993, and the importance of our apparel image in sports cannot be overemphasized.”
Overall, Reebok’s 1994 earnings totaled $254.5 million, or $3.02 per share, up 14 percent from $223.4 million, or $2.53. The 1993 figure reflects an after-tax loss of $7.04 million associated with the sale of Reebok’s former Boston Whaler and Ellesse units.
Sales for the year gained 13.4 percent to $3.3 billion from $2.9 billion.
Reebok’s net income for the quarter amounted to $53 million, or 64 cents a share, up 4.6 percent from $50.7 million, or 59 cents, a year ago. The earnings fell below Wall Street’s average estimate of 67 cents. Sales grew 17.7 percent to $709.2 million from $602.6 million.
Reebok’s shares outstanding averaged 83.4 million in the fourth quarter, down from 85.9 million. — Fairchild News Service