By Sara Germano
BERLIN -- Adidas AG said it was on track to resolve supply-chain issues holding back sales in North America by the end of the year, easing concerns that the sportswear maker could stumble in its sales race against rivals Nike Inc. and Under Armour Inc. in the world's most important athletic gear market.
Chief Executive Kasper Rørsted said the German company had increased its use of airfreight to speed up shipping of midprice apparel, demand for which is growing, especially in the U.S.
The company said it continued to expect the bottlenecks to have a negative impact worth between EUR200 million ($223 million) and EUR400 million for the full year, or about 1% of overall sales, including the higher costs of airfreight shipping.
"You should assume by the end of the year we are back to a normal situation," Mr. Rorsted said.
The company reported Friday higher sales and profits for the quarter ended in March, driven by favorable currency exchange rates and growth in its high-margin e-commerce business.
Shares in the company closed up roughly 9% to EUR249 Friday.
In recent months, Adidas has posted breakneck sales growth in North America, the home turf of industry leader Nike and challenger Under Armour, which is amid restructuring.
Nike warned analysts in March that sales growth would slow because of adverse currency movements. All three companies have emphasized growing their direct-to-consumer and e-commerce businesses, particularly in North America, and have turned to Amazon.com Inc. to boost sales, as traditional athletic wholesalers like City Sports and the Sports Authority have liquidated in recent years.
Adidas has increasingly relied on partnerships with nonathlete celebrities to boost sales, including a new collaboration announced in April with pop icon Beyoncé. Mr. Rorsted said the company expects to roll out the first products from this collaboration by the end of the year.
Citing its existing partnerships with musicians Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, the chief executive said "on the influencer side, we probably have the top team in the industry."
The Herzogenaurach, Germany-based sportswear maker said it aims to double its e-commerce business in the next two years, in part through using its celebrity partnerships to offer limited releases of high-demand products, as it has done with Mr. West's Yeezy line of sneakers. Adidas's e-commerce revenues grew 40% during the most recent quarter, though it didn't break out the figure in euro terms.
Sales were broadly in line with analysts' expectations, rising 6.1% to EUR5.88 billion from EUR5.55 billion. On a currency-neutral basis, sales grew 4%. Profit rose 17% to EUR633 million.
"We see Adidas at the lower end of its sales growth target but earnings are much better than guided for the full year," said Baader Helvea analyst Volker Bosse. The equity-research firm said Adidas's results could lead to margin guidance upgrades this year.
Adidas continues to expect sales growth of between 3% and 4% during the first half of 2019, and acceleration during the second half.
The company backed its full-year guidance of currency-neutral sales growth of 5%-8%, an operating margin increase to between 11.3% and 11.5%, and 10% to 14% growth in net profit from continuing operations.
Cristina Roca contributed to this article.
Write to Sara Germano at email@example.com
Corrections & Amplifications In an earlier version of this article, two charts misspelled the name of Under Armour as Under Armor. (May 3, 2019)