While crediting Rihanna for igniting its women’s business, Puma SE saw fourth-quarter profits squeezed by heavy investments in marketing, retail and IT.
The German sporting-goods firm controlled by Kering posted a net loss of 4.3 million euros, or $4.7 million, versus a loss of 4.6 million euros, or $5.7 million, in the year-ago quarter.
The firm also blamed adverse currency effects for a decrease in its gross margin to 42.7 percent from 45 percent, noting all categories suffered falling profitability.
Sales in the three months ended Dec. 31 gained 17.1 percent to 878.9 million euros, or $961.8 million. (Dollar figures are converted from euros at average exchange rates in the period.)
“Our co-operation with Rihanna and a strong product offering have increased the interest from both retailers and consumers,” said CEO Bjørn Gulden, citing strong sell-through of Puma’s first Rihanna-inspired footwear.
The singer recently staged her first runway show for the brand during New York Fashion Week.
“We know that we still have a lot to improve but feel that during this year we have strengthened the Puma brand, presented better products and further improved the co-operation with our retail partners,” Gulden added, trumpeting sales gains across all regions and product categories in the fourth quarter.
Puma is forecasting sales to increase at a high single-digit rate for 2016 and the gross profit margin to remain flat at 45.5 percent.