Puma lifts outlook as basketball launch goes well

Puma lifts outlook as basketball launch goes well
FILE PHOTO: The logo of German sports goods firm Puma is seen on a shoe after the company's annual news conference in Herzogenaurach February 20, 2014. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle/File Photo -
Michaela Rehle(Reuters)
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BERLIN (Reuters) - German sportswear firm Puma raised its outlook for full-year sales and operating profit on Thursday as it reported strong sales growth in the Americas and Asia and said its first basketball shoe in 20 years had been well received.

Third quarter sales rose a currency-adjusted 14 percent to 1.242 billion euros (1.1 billion pounds), while operating profit was up 28 percent to 130 million, beating average analyst forecasts for 1.2 billion and 119 million respectively.

Puma saw sales rise almost 16 percent in the Americas in the quarter and 23 percent in Asia, showing little of cooling in the region even as concerns grow that a trade war between Beijing and Washington will curb spending by Chinese shoppers.

Puma has revived its fortunes in recent years by putting a big focus on soccer and running, while partnerships with celebrities like singers Rihanna and Selena Gomez have boosted its popularity among women.

It is now making a drive to widen its appeal in the U.S. market by returning to basketball, naming Jay-Z as its creative director for the sport and signing sponsorships with four top picks in the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft.

Chief Executive Bjorn Gulden said the pre-launch of its new basketball line in late September had gone well: "Although it is very early days, the sell-through of our first shoe model has been very positive."

Puma said it now expects that currency-adjusted sales for 2018 will rise between 14 and 16 percent, up from a previous 12 to 14 percent.

Operating profit will come in at 325 million to 335 million, up from a previous target range of 310 million to 330 million, Puma added.

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson, Editing by Tassilo Hummel and Maria Sheahan)

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