Jul 29, 2014
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Puma says World Cup sales beat its expectations

Jul 29, 2014

BERLIN, Germany - German sportswear firm Puma said sales of World Cup soccer boots and national team shirts beat its expectations as it reported second-quarter results in line with analyst forecasts and reiterated its expectations for 2014.

Marco Reuss | Source: Puma

Puma said on Tuesday sales fell 5.8 percent to 652.2 million euros ($876.1 million), but were up 0.6 percent when stripping out the impact of volatile currencies. Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) fell 60 percent to 12.6 million euros.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast sales of 654 million euros and EBIT of 10.4 million euros.

The company, which has slipped further behind sportswear giants Nike and Adidas in recent years after a foray into fashion, reiterated a 2014 forecast for flat currency-adjusted sales and for EBIT and net earnings to rise by 5 percent and 3 percent respectively.

Puma hopes for a boost to sales in the second half after it ousted Nike as kit supplier to English soccer club Arsenal from next season. It will also launch its biggest campaign to date on Aug. 7 timed to coincide with the busy back-to-school season, showcasing athletes including sprinter Usain Bolt, soccer star Mario Balotelli and golfer Rickie Fowler.

Puma said second-quarter operating expenditure was broadly unchanged despite increased marketing spending associated with the World Cup, where it provided shirts to eight teams including Italy, Chile and Ghana and kitted out its sponsored players with eye-catching boots: one blue and one pink.

Chief Executive Bjorn Gulden said in a statement that sales of the boots and national jerseys had "exceeded our expectations" and said initial sales of replica Arsenal shirts, which went on sale on July 1, had been "very good".

Puma said apparel sales, which account for more than a third of its total, rose 6.2 percent to 241 million euros, helped by strong demand for replica jerseys of the Italian, Chilean and African teams at the World Cup.

Even though Puma's dual-coloured World Cup boots have now largely sold out, footwear sales, which have suffered from a decline in the motorsport business, fell almost 16 percent to 277.6 million euros.

Puma said it had appointed Lars Radoor Soerensen, who previously worked at fashion firms Bestseller and Esprit as well as Adidas and Lego, as new chief operating officer, replacing Andy Koehler, who is stepping down for personal reasons.

French luxury group Kering, which has built up a 86 percent holding in Puma since first buying a stake in 2007, reports results on Wednesday.

$1 = 0.7444 Euros

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