Puma Pushes Product After Tough Q1

Softening stateside shoe sales and overall weakness in Europe have pushed Puma SE to action.

“They have definitely lost share from a footwear perspective in the U.S. marketplace,” said Susquehanna Financial analyst Christopher Svezia. “They’ve not been as quick to react to the trends here, [such as] the massive push into the minimalist, lightweight arena, when Adidas, even Saucony, Brooks and New Balance have done their part. And the more tapered, low-profile look also continues to struggle for them. [Puma is] sort of crawling back. Hopefully they get some traction later in the year.”

The Herzogenaurach, Germany-based company’s footwear revenues slipped 2.1 percent currency-adjusted to 414.6 million euros, or $548.3 million, in the first quarter.

Restrained consumer spending in the eurozone also continues to impact demand, Puma said last Wednesday. But strong performances in Asia-Pacific and the Americas have counterbalanced that, and the firm reiterated its target of high single-digit revenue growth, as well as a mid-single-digit improvement in net income, for the full year.

On the product front, Puma said it has extended its lightweight concept, incorporating further styles for the fourth quarter, and it looks forward to positive performance from some recent product launches.

The Archive Lite, an ultra-light shoe with a contemporary look, is generating double-digit sell-throughs in leading doors in Europe and Asia, thanks to the styles having a unique selling point, with bold, young and colorful designs, the firm noted.

Puma also will apply the lightweight concept to its performance categories and plans to launch a new collection at the end of May inspired by Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt.

“Puma’s first-quarter sales growth could not keep pace with that of recent quarters,” CEO Franz Koch conceded in a statement last week. “I am confident that the product innovations we have in the pipelines will contribute to achieving our full-year sales and earnings targets against the background of this extraordinary sports year.”

Puma’s net income for the quarter fell 4.9 percent to 73.9 million euros, or $97.8 million, on a revenue gain of 6.1 percent. Earnings per share came in at 4.92 euros, or $6.51.

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