BERLIN (Reuters) – German sportswear company Adidas said on Thursday it would grow in its key market of China in 2022 even after it was hit by renewed pandemic restrictions and the aftermath of a consumer boycott of Western brands.

The comments come after Manager Magazin reported Adidas expects sales in China to be down 400 million euros ($455 million) in 2022, without citing its sources.

Asked about the article, an Adidas spokesperson said: “Our business in China grew in 2021 and our business in China will grow in 2022 as well.”

Adidas’s third-quarter sales fell 15% in Greater China, although they were up 15% in the first nine months of the year. The company reports full-year 2021 results on March 9.

Western brands have come under fire in China for saying they would not source cotton from Xinjiang after reports of human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims in the region. Beijing denies any abuses.

Adidas said last year it had launched an action plan to try to revive its fortunes in China, long its most important growth market. It has set up a dedicated studio for marketing and is increasing its creation of products just for the Chinese market.

Manager Magazin said the situation was seen as so critical that Adidas sales chief Roland Auschel had travelled to China in January despite quarantine requirements.

Rival Nike said in December supply issues and fresh COVID-19 lockdowns led to a 20% fall in revenue in Greater China in its fiscal second quarter.

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(Reporting by Emma Thomasson and Alexander Huebner; Editing by Mark Potter)