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With Double-Digit Sales Growth in All Regions, Puma Is Basically Printing Money

Looks like investing in high-budget ambassador talent is quite literally paying off.
Photo: Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images

Photo: Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images

Last we checked in on Kering's business in February of this year, the Paris-based international luxury group was in quite a plum spot with the help of Yves Saint Laurent. This was 10 months after Hedi Slimane's departure, and the brand he turned around remained Kering's cash cow. The group's prize pony, Gucci, was outperforming, too: The Italian house only started to feel the impact of Alessandro Michele's revamp last fall, soon after leading to an absolutely insane 33.9-percent jump in comparable revenue in Kering's third quarter.

And then there's Puma, which has spent the last several years throttling itself head-first into the activewear arms race, and with impressive results. What Nike and Adidas may have in terms of athletic innovation, Puma makes up for in its marketing efforts: Not only does the Herzogenaurach, Germany-based firm have millennial heavy-hitters like Cara Delevingne, Kylie Jenner and The Weeknd under contract, but it also operates Rihanna's Fenty Puma, fashion's new favorite wunderkind and runway spectacular.

For its second quarter, Puma is still able to put money where its mouth is — and then some. In the three months ending June 30, Puma reported a 16 percent lift in revenue to €968.7 million (about $1.13 billion), with all regions showing double-digit growth. Meanwhile, net earnings climbed by 13.7 percent to €21.9 million (about $25.5 million), and its gross profit margin rose by 90 basis points to 46.5 percent.

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In an earnings report released on Wednesday, Puma attributed footwear as being the main growth driver, which isn't exactly surprising considering how heavily the brand has pushed its shoe collaborations. Delevingne, Jenner and The Weeknd have all either designed speciality footwear, or are fronting a new style, and it's not like we need to tell you about the success of Fenty Puma's slide sandals.

Puma hasn't had anything short of a strong quarter in a long time, and yet, all fiscal signs still point to continued growth. In an earnings call on Wednesday, Chief Executive Bjorn Gulden chalked the company's success up to those aforementioned marketing flexes. "We are not going to decrease marketing," said Gulden, according to Business of Fashion. "It will always stay between 10 percent and 12 percent of sales." And as Puma's sales get bigger? So too will its marketing, which begs the question: Which high-budget ambassador will the brand tap next? 

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