Adidas said it expects supply chain issues to dent sales growth in the first half of the year, particularly in North America.

But the German sportswear brand said it hopes to see off a challenge from Nike in Europe and return to growth in the region. 

Nike has been regaining ground, helped by a steady stream of new product launches and a strong showing by Nike-sponsored teams at the soccer World Cup.

This comes after several years when Adidas ate into its home market of North America. 

Adidas said that currency-neutral sales growth would slow to between 5-8% in 2019, from 8% in 2018, with supply issues accounting for a 1-2% fall as it struggles to meet strong demand for mid-priced apparel. 

In contrast, Nike has forecast sales growth for 2019 approaching low double digits, and local rival Puma a currency-adjusted 10%. 

"It is a demand problem," Adidas chief executive Kasper Rorsted told CNBC, noting that Adidas had doubled the size of its business in North America in the last three years. 

Adidas sources most of its clothing ranage from Cambodia, China and Vietnam. Rorsted said the shortages had nothing to do with US trade tensions with China. 

The company expects sales growth of just 3-4% in the first half of the year, speeding up in the second half as it ramps up supplies by reallocating factory capacity and prioritising the US market. 

Adidas said it should reach an operating profit margin of between 11.3-11.5% in 2019, up from 10.8% in 2018, with the return of the Reebok brand to profit helping it hit a target originally set for 2020 a year early.

Fourth-quarter sales rose by a currency-adjusted 5% to €5.234 billion compared to average analyst forecasts for €5.2 billion, while attributable net profit came in at €108m compared to a consensus for €88m. 

Sales rose 13% in greater China and 9% in North America, but fell 6% in Europe. 

Adidas said it expected to revive growth in Europe in the course of 2019, forecasting a slight increase in currency-neutral revenues for the region. 

Rorsted said that Adidas had relied too much in Europe on a short-term trend for fashion shoes, like its retro Stan Smith and Superstar, and not enough on sports performance gear, which it hopes to revive with sponsorship deals like the one it struck with English soccer side Arsenal. 

Adidas saw strong growth in "sport inspired" styles and in training and running in the quarter, but a steep decline in soccer, where it benefited a year earlier from sales of team jerseys in the run-up to the World Cup.