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October 27, 2021

Puma issues upbeat outlook despite supply constraints

The CEO of German sports brand Puma, Bjorn Gulden, remains positive about the group’s performance in the near future despite concerns of supply constraints after it reported a 27% increase in third-quarter net earnings.

By Hannah Abdulla

Gulden says the third-quarter was strong despite operational problems including lockdowns in Vietnam, port congestion, and lack of freight capacity.

Q3 numbers in brief

  • Sales increased by 20% currency-adjusted to EUR1.9bn (US$2.2bn)
  • Operating result (EBIT) at EUR229m vs EUR190m in Q3 2020
  • Net earnings at EUR144m vs EUR114m in Q3 2020.

The Americas reported the strongest sales growth in the quarter of 31.2% followed by EMEA at 22.3%. Asia/Pacific grew 1.7% currency-adjusted despite a difficult market environment in Greater China and Covid-19 related lockdowns in markets such as Japan, South East Asia, and Australia.

In terms of product divisions, footwear was up by 21.6%, based on continued strong demand for performance and sportstyle categories. Apparel (+21.3%) and accessories (+15.2%) also showed double-digit growth in the third quarter of 2021. Compared to the third quarter of 2019, total sales were up 35.4% currency-adjusted.

Outlook

Puma now expects currency-adjusted sales to increase at least 25% (previous outlook: at least 20% currency-adjusted sales growth) in the financial year 2021.

EBIT is expected to be in a range between EUR450m-EUR500m, compared to previous outlook of between EUR400-500m. Net earnings are still expected to “improve significantly” in 2021.

“The third quarter was another very strong quarter for us. Despite a lot of operational problems, we grew our sales,” Gulden notes.

“A Covid-19 related lockdown of production in South Vietnam, an overheated global freight market with high rates and a lack of capacity, port congestion and a very difficult market situation in China were hurdles we had to overcome in the quarter.

“Demand for our products was high, our teams worked very hard to deliver as much product as possible and we continued to be as flexible and service-minded for our partners as we could be.

“We foresee the high demand for our products to continue, but we also see supply constraints continue to be a problem for the rest of the year.

“We will continue to manoeuvre through the operational problems as well as possible, but we will also continue to invest in our brand, products and infrastructure for the mid and long term. The outlook for our industry in general and for Puma, in particular, is in my opinion very positive.”

Earlier this month, Puma unveiled its new jersey featuring ultraweave technology, which is described as being engineered to provide its lightest ever performance apparel to date.

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