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Puma rebounds in third quarter as retail stores reopen

Puma says its third-quarter sales rose 13.3 per cent on a currency-adjusted basis to US$1.85 billion, leaving year-to-date sales down just 5.1 per cent despite the impact of the pandemic.

“The third quarter developed much better than I expected,” said Bjorn Gulden, Puma’s CEO. 

“Retail stores reopened, sports events resumed, consumer confidence improved and our sales increased week by week. I feel this strong performance confirms the strength of both PUMA as a brand and the sporting goods industry in general.”

Puma’s gross profit margin decreased to 47 per cent, largely due to negative currency impacts and increased promotional activity as the company adjusted to an unusual trading environment. However, operating expenses dropped by 3.3 per cent allowing a pre-tax profit of $223 million. 

“Despite a very promotional market environment and currency developments that put pressure on our margins, we were even able to improve our EBIT compared to last year,” said Gulden.

“This was achieved by continued strong cost control that we initiated in the extremely weak second quarter and through less but more efficient marketing activities.

“October started well, but the recent development of Covid-19 and the number of infections we are seeing globally make us cautious for the rest of the year. We will continue to manoeuvre through this pandemic in the short-term without hindering Puma’s mid-term momentum.”

Sales in Asia/Pacific declined by 1.9 per cent, mainly due to slower growth in Greater China and a sales decline in India, Korea and Southeast Asian markets. 

For the first nine months of the year, including the time when lockdowns were in place across much of Asia, sales in the region fell 9.1 per cent. 

Global net earnings for the nine months combined were down from $287 million last year to $63.7 million.  

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