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Its safe to say that 2014 was a painful year for TaylorMade-adidas Golf. It changed its CEO and went through the challenging exercise of reducing excess retail inventory. The company, which had been on a tear up until a couple of years ago, fell back to earth in 2014. Along the way, it reduced its global workforce by 15%. A year ago, the company was still boasting its accomplishments as it proclaimed to be the largest and most profitable golf equipment, apparel and footwear company in the world. Now that sounds a little hollow as revenues at TaylorMade-adidas Golf declined by 29% from the previous year.

TaylorMade-adidas Golf’s annual revenues slumped to 913 million euros from 1.285 billion euros in the prior year. The company blamed ongoing efforts to clean up retail inventories and the timing of new product introductions for its shortcomings. How the mighty have fallen as just two short years ago, TaylorMade-adidas Golf, under Mark King, reported 2012 revenues of 1.344 billion  (record sales for the business). Since that time the company has seen demand for its products fall by 431 million euros. Keep in mind that the company acquired Adams Golf (March 2012) during this period, which helped to artificially enhance annual sales initially.

With the retail stuffing of product it forced in late 2013, it came back to roost in 2014, which might shed some light on its recent decision under new CEO, Ben Sharpe, to take a position into retail. Fourth quarter sales were 240 million euros, down from a year ago when it reported 304 million euros. In each quarter of its 2014 fiscal year, TaylorMade-adidas Golf reported lower sales from 2013. In fact, TaylorMade’s 2014 final sales failed to exceed its 2013 nine-month level of 981 million euros, which indicates how desperate the company was back in 2013 to flood the market with its products. “Strong equipment sales combined with our growth in the footwear and apparel categories have us on track to surpass the unprecedented $2 billion sales barrier by 2015,” said former CEO, Mark King in a November 7, 2013 press release. “We believe the industry will rebound in 2014 from the 10% YTD drop in the U.S. metalwood market size and 6% drop in U.S. rounds played that have impacted growth in 2013.”  It didn’t exactly work out that way and King is now handling adidas North America and out of the golf business in a sense.

“As far as our golf business is concerned, we misjudged the market situation at the beginning of the year. A decline in the number of active players as well as high levels and slow liquidation of old inventories caused immense problems for the entire industry, and as market leader this hit us particularly hard,” stated adidas Group CEO, Herbert Hainer to shareholders. “However, we reacted decisively to these challenges, taking a leading role in the cleanup of excess inventories in the golf market. At the same time, we implemented an extensive restructuring program, which has involved the closure of one of our facilities in the USA and a 15% reduction in the global TaylorMade-adidas Golf workforce. Building on these significant healthier foundations, and thanks to numerous promising product launches, TaylorMade-adidas Golf will be back on track for growth this year.”