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Rihanna’s sportswear designs help lift Puma sales

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Naming pop star Rihanna as the company’s women’s creative director in 2014 has paid off for Puma, according to latest sales figures.

A new collection from the singer helped drive sales growth at the German sportswear company, which last week raised its outlook for 2017 sales and operating earnings.

It follows sportswear firms seeking to tap into the booming market for female leisure gear, which helped drive the rise of the likes of yogawear chain Lululemon Athletica.

Rihanna’s retro Basket Heart sneakers and Ignite Limitless running shoes for Puma were particularly popular, according to the company. Women’s sales overall were helped by a Rihanna collection launched in September as well as a partnership with singer and actress Selena Gomez.

Puma said growth had been driven in particular by footwear – with sales up a currency-adjusted 23 per cent – and accessories, which rose 24 per cent, while sales of apparel advanced 8 per cent.

Third-quarter sales for the company rose a currency-adjusted 23 per cent in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, 16 per cent in the Americas and 10 per cent in Asia-Pacific.

Like its German rival Adidas, due to file results on November 9th, Puma has been enjoying a revival in the US market, as shoppers snap up its retro styles instead of basketball shoes, hurting Under Armour and Nike.

Puma was bought by French luxury goods company Kering in 2007 and had been struggling for years. But analysts expect Kering could seek to sell its stake in the course of 2018 now that the German brand is performing well again.

Puma’s market capitalisation is now €5.3 billion, back at the level at which Kering bought it.

Kering is expected to pursue a dual track initial public offering-auction to spin off Puma next year, but not before, according to the Business of Fashion website which cited investment bankers in Paris and London.

– (Reuters)

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