Following a rebound year in 2016, Puma said it expects to deliver robust first-quarter results, prompting it to raise its guidance for the current year.

In the first quarter, consolidated sales expanded approximately 15 percent on a currency-adjusted basis to €1.005 billion ($1.07 bn) while increasing 18.0 percent on reported terms.

EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) jumped 69.5 percent to approximately €70 million ($74.3 mm).

In light of the strong first-quarter increase in sales and profitability as well as the positive business outlook for the current year 2017, Puma raised its full-year guidance for its consolidated sales and operating result (EBIT). Management now expects that sales will increase currency adjusted at a low double-digit percentage rate, up from guidance calling for an increase at a high single-digit percentage rate.

EBIT is now projected to come in between €185 million and €200 million versus previous guidance between €170 million and €190 million. That new guidance represents a gain between 45 to 56 percent compared to EBIT of €128 million in 2016.

In line with the previous guidance, management still expects that net earnings will improve significantly in 2017. The company’s full first-quarter results will be published on April 25.

In 2016, sales for the year were up 10 percent currency adjusted to €3.63 billion while moving up 7 percent on a reported basis. The gains on a currency-neutral basis were led by the EMEA region, up 13.2 percent; followed by the Asia/Pacific region, ahead 8.5 percent; and Americas, 8.3 percent.

EBIT ran up 33 percent to €128 million. Net earnings jumped 68 percent to €62.4 million.

In his letter in Puma’s 2016 annual report, Bjørn Gulden, CEO, called out the success of the Puma Fierce collection, fronted by Kylie Jenner, in only driving sales but helping secure shelf space and wide media coverage.

“Our Ignite franchise has put Puma back in the running and training category again and the Fenty Puma by Rihanna products have had a tremendous impact on our success in the fashion/ lifestyle area,” added Gulden. “Furthermore, our women´s business saw the launch of a series of successful styles: shoes, apparel and accessories – both in collaboration with Rihanna as well as in our inline collection. Key footwear styles sold out within weeks or days.”

He singled out Rihanna’s footwear model, The Creeper, as the stand out last year and the singer’s runway shows during the New York and Paris Fashion Weeks were “overwhelmingly positive and created major buzz in social media.”

During 2016, Puma also saw a good response to its “DO YOU” campaign, which aims to inspire confidence in women around the world and was spearheaded by international model, actress and activist Cara Delevingne,

Overall, Gulden said the improved “enhanced brand heat” and improved sell-throughs had helped the Puma brand secure more and better shelf space with existing retailers, and also new shelf space with retailers that have not carried Puma lately. Puma’s owned and operated retail were also positive in 2016 with a healthy like-for-like sales growth, a higher number of owned and operated stores and significant growth in e-commerce.

Gulden concluded, “Our task is now to utilize this momentum to get more and even better shelf space with the best retailers around the world.”

Photo courtesy Puma