Strong demand for its sportswear and shoes in Europe, America and Asia pushed Puma AG's third quarter sales up 15 per cent and prompted the firm to raise its net profit forecast for the full year.

Pre-tax profit rose to €124 million from €104 million a year ago, and earnings before interest and taxes increased to €122.4 million from €103.8 million a year earlier. 

Sales rose by 14.6 per cent to €460.9 million from €402 million euros a year ago. European sales were up 11.1 per cent to €314 million in the third quarter, while sales in the Americas region grew by 26.8 per cent in local currency.

Puma said it now expects a 35-40 per cent increase in 2004 net profit, up from its previous forecast of 30 per cent growth.