Asics to Offer Cheaper Shoes in Bid to Boost Sales

Asics Corp. (ASCCF) plans to start selling cheaper shoes in a bid to boost its sales.

Asics will start selling shoes with a recommended retail price of about $60. Previously, it sold running shoes priced between $75 and $125, leaving the lower end of the market to companies including Nike (NKE).

"We can't expand by focusing on the medium-to-high end of the market anymore," Toshiyuki Sano, an executive in charge of finance, told Bloomberg News. "We want to offer simpler entry-level models."

Asics, which derives 74% of its revenue from athletic shoes, aims to increase sales to 400 billion yen ($4.8 billion) in fiscal 2015. The company posted revenue of 224 billion yen in the year ended March 31.

Nigel Mutson, an analyst with CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, said that the plan to sell cheaper shoes is "reasonable."

"As long as they don't go too far into the low-priced products, I think it's a reasonable strategy," Mutson said. "A lot of the consumer loyalty they've built up over the past five to 10 years should remain."

Asics is unlikely to sell shoes much cheaper than $60, Sano said.

"At the $50-range you can't include some functions, and we are reluctant to go there. We wouldn't go down to $30," Sano said.

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