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   | 2000 Globe 100 |

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The Boston Globe OnlineBoston.com Boston Globe Online / Business / 2001 Globe 100

3. REEBOK INTERNATIONAL LTD.
Fancy footwork on the comeback trail

5/22/2001

   

BEARS & BULLS

Old economy companies led Bay State Bulls
The shining lights of the local investment world were companies that sell sneakers, blood tests, clothes for middle-age women, and life insurance.
Continued

THE BULLS
1. J. Jill Group
2. Inverness Medical Tech.
3. Reebok Intl.
4. Bostonfed Bancorp
5. John Hancock Financial


THE BEARS
1. Aztec Tech. Partners
2. Engage Inc.
3. CMGI Inc.
4. Telaxis Communications
5. NaviSite Inc.


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asketball star Allen Iverson may be the most effective jock pitchman since Michael Jordan - and Iverson is one of several reasons why Reebok is on the comeback trail.

As a small man in a big man's game, Iverson and his maverick lifestyle have won over the urban male teens who set trends in sneaker fashions.

Reebok chairman Paul B. Fireman says Iverson's ability to sell product is roughly comparable to Jordan's at a similar stage of his basketball career.

Jordan, of course, sold sneakers for archrival Nike Inc. Stumbles by Nike and other sneaker companies have also helped Canton-based Reebok break out of its mid-1990s doldrums.

Reebok enjoyed another recent marketing coup: It was an early backer of the TV series ''Survivor.''

Throw in an endorsement-contract extension with tennis star Venus Williams, a deal with the National Football League, and a new management team that Fireman brought in about two years ago, and the company has been generating plenty of positive buzz.

Buzz would mean little, though, if Reebok didn't have a consistent marketing message and sneakers that blend fashion and performance. But so far, so good. Profit in 2000 rose to $81 million from $11 million. On March 31, Reebok's stock traded at $24.86 a share, up 169 percent over 12 months.

One caution: Sales are roughly flat, partly because of currency issues.

Said Reebok brand president David A. Perdue: ''It's very early in the turnaround. The best is yet to come.''

CHRIS REIDY

   


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