Puma preps retail drive to spark sales upturn

Puma is planning to launch a ecommerce platform later this year as part of a string of retail investments it is hoping will reverse stuttering sales worldwide. 

Puma Clever Little Bag
Puma hopes retail investments will make 2014 a turnaround year for the company.

The sports brand’s financial struggles were reflected in the company posting a 29 per cent year on year drop in net earnings to €36m in its first quarter, as sales declined 7 per cent to €726m.

Sales in the EMEA region increased just 0.5 per cent to €337m. The trend was extended to other regions with Puma posting similar flat performances in the Americas (0.5 per cent) and Asia Pacific (2.1 per cent) in the same period.

A sharp 7.1 per cent drop in the company’s footwear sales to €321m continued to hamper the brand in its more mature markets, although Puma remains hopeful the trend would slowdown moving forward following the “positive global reception” of its new evoPOWER football boot during the first quarter of the year.

The launch is one of a string of initiatives the sports business is banking on this summer to buoy its turnaround efforts, following several previous quarters of sales declines. It cited its upcoming eCommerce site, which will launch in the USA, Europe and Russia by mid 2014, to boost sales as part of wider overhaul of its direct-to-consumer channels.

Puma is also increasing investment in its bricks-and-mortar offering, through its PUMA Lab retail initiative at Foot Locker. The experiential move showcases the innovation behind its footwear and apparel products, with the company keen to showcase how it makes athletes run faster as a way to differentiate its offering from rivals Nike and Adidas.

The strategy will be realised through a global brand campaign to launch in August featuring athletes such as Usain Bolt and Mario Balotelli.

Bjørn Gulden, Puma chief executive officer, said: “We know that the repositioning of PUMA and the turnaround of the business will take time, but I am convinced that we are progressing well on all our key strategic priorities and that we have initiated the right projects to make 2014 the start of the turnaround.”

Earlier this year Puma confirmed it is to become Arsenal’s kit supplier, replacing Nike from 1 July. 

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