Adidas, the world's second-largest sporting goods company, raised its sales outlook for the second time this year after the U.S., Chinese and Russian markets drove first-quarter growth.

Adidas, which competes with Nike and Puma, said on Thursday it now expects 2011 sales to increase at a high single-digit percentage rate.

Its previous target was for sales to rise by a medium to high single-digit percentage rate.

Local rival Puma last month increased its sales goal for the year after growth in the United States helped to drive record sales.

However, soaring raw material costs and the impact of the earthquake in Japan, one of its top five markets, mean the bigger-than-expected increase in sales will not translate into more profits, Adidas said.

It expects the 2011 group gross margin to be between 47.5 percent and 48.0 percent, roughly in line with the 47.8 percent recorded for last year.

As a consequence of the tragic events in Japan during the first quarter of 2011, group gross margin will be negatively impacted by sales declines in this market, it said.

Margins are in focus at consumer-facing companies, from soap maker Unilever to clothes retailer H&M, as they seek to pass on soaring commodity costs to customers.

Puma, Adidas and Nike have all said price increases for their footwear and clothing are on the cards this year.

Adidas group sales jumped 18 percent on a currency-neutral basis to 3.27 billion euros ($4.57 billion) in the first three months of 2011, while operating profit came in at 313 million.

Analysts had expected the group to report sales of 3.01 billion euros and operating profit of 283 million, according to a Reuters poll.

(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Erica Billingham)

($1 = 0.7158 euro)