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With Rihanna and Kylie Jenner On Its Side, Puma Is Selling More Women's Shoes

Of course, marketing expenses have increased.
Rihanna at her February Fenty Puma runway show. Photo: JP Yim/Getty Images

Rihanna at her February Fenty Puma runway show. Photo: JP Yim/Getty Images

When it comes to names that tend to drive buzz, you can't do much better than Rihanna and Kylie Jenner, and Puma's marketing partnerships with both are starting to pay off when it comes to the Kering-owned German sportswear brand's bottom line. In the first three months of 2016, Puma saw currency-adjusted sales increase by 7.3 percent to €852 million (about $973 million). 

Footwear was the biggest driver of that growth, increasing by 8.5 percent, and "supported especially by the successful launches of women’s silhouettes," according to the quarterly report, though the company did not reveal numeric sales results by gender. It pointed to creative director Rihanna's New York Fashion Week Show, deemed a "highlight" by the company, after which the Fenty creepers and trailers sold out within weeks and days. And while the company didn't call out Jenner by name, the women's in-house lines often seen on the influential teen's social media accounts have also contributed to the boost. 

"We are especially happy to see that our sell through to consumers is improving," said CEO Bjørn Gulden in a statement. "This is especially strong in our women’s business, where the launches of new products and new marketing concepts have started to show excellent results." 

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Those marketing concepts don't come cheap, however. Reports surfaced when Jenner signed with Puma in February that she signed a "a 7-figure deal" to lend her face to Puma. While that's not been confirmed, operating expenses did increase by 3 percent to €361.7 million (about $413 million) in the first quarter, mainly due to "intensified marketing activities and retail upgrades." Still, profit was up 4 percent over last year to €25.8 million (about $29.5 million).

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