Puma reports better-than-expected sales and profit rebound

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German sportswear company Puma reported a rebound in third-quarter sales in the Americas and Europe as consumers keen to keep fit during the COVID-19 pandemic bought more online and at stores that reopened after lockdowns.

However, Puma said consumer sentiment was turning negative again as infections rise and said it could not provide a reliable outlook for the full year despite its optimism about its medium and long-term perspectives.

Chief Executive Bjorn Gulden told journalists he expected a positive operating profit for 2020.

Puma shares were down 2.5% at 0929 GMT as European markets fell on concerns of new coronavirus lockdowns.

Quarterly sales rose by a currency-adjusted 13% to 1.58 billion euros ($1.87 billion) and operating profit by 17% to 190 million euros, beating average analyst forecasts for 1.56 billion and 174 million euros respectively.

“Puma’s nicely ahead-of-consensus Q3 confirms a brand in good health. This at a time when the rebuild in demand for sporting goods points to an expanded end market post-COVID,” wrote Jefferies analyst James Grzinic.

Sales jumped 20.7% in the Americas and 17.7% in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, with categories such as basketball, motorsport, golf and team sports showing the highest growth rates. Online sales rose 61%.

“Consumers go less to the stores but when they come, they buy more,” Gulden said, adding that Puma was selling more shoes for running, walking and hiking, but less for team games due to coronavirus restrictions.

Sales fell 1.9% in Asia/Pacific, due to slower growth in greater China, and a decline in India, Korea and South East Asia, although Gulden said he was “pretty optimistic” about the fourth quarter in China.

Nike Inc, the world’s largest sports athletic shoe manufacturer, last month reported quarterly profit and revenue ahead of Wall Street estimates. ($1 = 0.8461 euros) 

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