Chinese sportswear specialist Li Ning Company is embarking on a cost-cutting initiative and business restructuring, axing jobs in the face of falling sales.

The business, founded by international gymnast Li Ning, said it had “adjusted and optimised” its organisational structure, in an effort to focus on its core business and improve profit margins.

The move came as the China-based company predicted that sales for fiscal 2011 would have fallen by 6-7% as sector competition intensifies.

Front-office functions such as marketing and sales will be more tightly controlled and made more efficient, while back-office departments including HR and IT will be streamlined to increase operational efficiency.

Li Ning said the restructuring would include “streamlining the workforce”, but did not say how many jobs would be cut.

“In view of the transformation China’s sporting goods industry is going through, as well as the group’s determination for proactive reforms, ongoing restructuring of the organisation and human resources is a necessary step in order to achieve the group’s goals in reforms and strategic execution,” said Li Ning CEO Zhang Zhiyong.