Puma saw third quarter sales growth moderate just a bit from its nine-month year-to-date pace but still posted a solid double-digit increase in revenues on a currency-adjusted basis.  Gross margins and net income remained flat to last year’s third quarter.  

PUMA management reiterated the company’s target for €3 billion in sales for the full year.  In light of PUMA’s “Back on the Attack” growth strategy, investments and expenses are expected to “remain at a high level,” and gross profit margins will continue to be “stressed based on procurement price volatilities.” Management said they continue to foresee an improvement of net earnings in the mid-single-digits for the full year.

“PUMA posted a very solid sales performance for the fifth consecutive quarter,” said Franz Koch, CEO of PUMA SE. ”This underpins our 5-year growth strategy, which is already delivering results. After a strong performance in the first nine months of this year, we are now approaching our sales target of €3 billion for the full year, and despite continuing cost pressures we maintain our forecast of an improvement in net earnings in mid single-digits.“

Third quarter consolidated sales increased 7.3 percent to €841.6 million ($1.19 bn), or a 10.2 percent increase on a currency-adjusted basis, representing the “most successful quarterly performance in the company’s history.” Asia and Latin America drove the increases with double-digit growth.

Asia/Pacific grew 16.4 percent currency-adjusted to €196.0 million ($278 mm). Lightweight Running gear such as the Faas range and Women’s Fitness products (Bodytrain) drove the overall growth in this region.

EMEA also performed well, posting an increase of 9.5 percent currency-adjusted to €410.6 million ($581 mm). Russia, Turkey, Spain and Germany in particular contributed to this performance.

Sales in the Americas grew by 6.7 percent currency-adjusted but were down 0.7 percent in euro terms at €235.0 million ($333 mm). Puma said Latin America delivered a remarkable top-line performance, reflecting broad-based double-digit growth across all countries in the region, while North America had to comp against strong double-digit growth numbers from the previous year.

With all product categories contributing to this increase, Footwear rose 7.0 percent currency-adjusted to €431.1 million ($610 mm), Apparel went up 13.8 percent currency-adjusted to €294.7 million ($417 mm) and Accessories climbed 13.9 percent currency-adjusted to €115.8 million ($164 mm).

Gross profit margin remained at 50.0 percent despite “volatile” input prices.

Operating profit improved to €118.6 million ($168 mm) from €116.6 million ($150 mm) in line with expectations. This represents 14.1 percent of consolidated sales versus 14.9 percent at this time last year.

Consolidated net earnings were flat at €81.7 million ($116 mm).  Diluted earnings per share were up from €5.39 ($6.96) to €5.45 ($7.72).

Total cash (as of September 30, 2011) declined 30.7 percent to €289.5 million ($394 mm).