Reuters API
Apr 25, 2017
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Puma reports strong sales in Americas and Europe

Reuters API
Apr 25, 2017

German sportswear firm Puma has seen such strong demand for products promoted by celebrities like model Cara Delevingne and Canadian rapper The Weeknd that its supply chain is racing to keep up, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

Appointed in 2013 by majority-owner French luxury goods company Kering, Chief Executive Bjorn Gulden has invested heavily in celebrity marketing to revive a brand that still lags market leaders Nike and Adidas.

"Retailers ordered more because they needed more which has not been the case for a long time at Puma," Gulden told a conference call with journalists.

Gulden said Puma had been out of stock on many lines, prompting it to pull forward orders booked for the second quarter, with its suppliers working hard to meet demand.

"We need to make sure we don't oversell certain lines. We need to control growth in partnership with retailers," he said, highlighting demand for retro basketball shoes worn by Delevingne and "Limitless" sneakers launched by The Weeknd in February.

Gulden's comments come after Puma reported that first-quarter sales jumped a currency-adjusted 15.4 percent to 1 billion euros (£848.86 million), while net profit almost doubled to 49.6 million.

Puma shares, which jumped earlier this month when the firm lifted its profit and sales guidance for 2017, were up 2.4 percent by 0824 GMT at a new record high, making them one of the main gainers on the German small-cap index.

The Puma share price has been supported by speculation that Kering might consider a sale. Gulden said on Tuesday he has not heard anything about a possible sale.

Like German rival Adidas, which reports results on May 4, Puma has been enjoying a revival in the U.S. market, helped by a shift towards retro styles and away from basketball shoes which has hurt Under Armour and dented Nike's success.

Puma said sales rose a currency-adjusted 17 percent in the Americas and 15.9 percent in Europe, Middle East and Africa, with footwear sales up almost a quarter, outpacing its apparel and accessories business.

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