HERZOGENAURACH, Germany Feb 9 German sportswear
firm Puma reported strong sales growth in the fourth
quarter, particularly in Europe, and gave a confident forecast
for 2017 as it benefits from a trend for retro sneakers and
partnerships with stars like Usain Bolt.
Chief Executive Bjorn Gulden has led a gradual turnaround of
a brand that had fallen far behind market leaders Nike
and Adidas, sparking renewed speculation that
majority owner Kering might consider a sale.
Puma reported on Thursday a quarterly net loss of 4.6
million euros ($4.9 million), with sales up 9 percent to 958
million. That was slightly ahead of average analyst forecasts
for a 5 million net loss on sales of 947 million, according to a
Puma expects currency-adjusted net sales to increase at a
high single-digit percentage rate in 2017 after a rise of 10
percent in 2016, while earnings before interest and tax (EBIT)
should come in between 170 million and 190 million euros, up
from 128 million in 2016.
($1 = 0.9346 euros)
(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Maria Sheahan)