Third quarter profit at Japanese running shoe specialist Asics Corporation has risen by 1.1% to (US$116m), pushed forward by strong footwear revenues.

From the first to third quarter of fiscal year 2007, the company's revenue was JPY166bn - an increase of 16.7% versus the same period last year. Operating income was JPY19.1bn, a rise of 14.9%.

The company reported continuous growth of running and sport lifestyle categories in the US and Europe, contributing to a 23.7% footwear revenue boost to JPY124bn.

However, as sales of its sportstyle apparel in Europe slowed down, apparel revenue ended at JPY29bn, down 2.6% compared to last year.

Domestic footwear and equipment sales at Asics were strong during the period while apparel business was almost flat, the company said.

Domestic revenue was JPY67.9bn, up 12.9% on last year, while operation income was JPY2.9bn, an increase of 0.6%.

Continued strong sales of running shoes expanded revenues in the US and Europe, which both climbed 18.2% to JPY38bn and JPY56.7bn respectively during the first nine-months.

For the full-year, Asics forecasts revenue of JPY228.6bn, an increase of 17.5%, and said that net income should rise 4.5% to around JPY14.5bn.

The company also announced the appointment of Motoi Oyama as its president and representative director.

Oyama's appointment is effective from 1 April, when he will take over the presidency from Kiyomi Wada, who will be serving as chairman and representative director at Asics.

"The reason behind the appointment is to further enhance the company's corporate values by responding with speed to the changes in the sporting goods market," the company said.

Oyama joined Asics in 1982, and has been the company's senior managing director responsible for overseas business and corporate strategy since August 2007.

He is also senior general manager of its marketing division and chairman, representative director and CEO of Asics Europe.