Sports Insight

July / August 2019

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10 • Sports Insight July/August 2019 Puma Gets Lift From Basketball P uma CEO Bjorn Gulden believes the company's decision to the enter the basketball category again last year has improved the brand's sell-through rates and overall shelf space in the U.S., but he admits the Cat " is just scraping the surface" on what it could eventually do. "ere is still a lot of work to do," he admits, before later adding that Puma's basketball entry strategy "is paying off." But the U.S.-China trade war is forcing Puma to alter its supply chain and raise inventory levels ahead of potential tariff hikes. Inventories in the first half of the year were up 19 percent aer the company made a decision in 2019 to give commitments to suppliers to accelerate product receipts in periods it normally would order less. "e alternative would have been to order during normal demand cycle but rise losing (factor y) capacities where we needed them," commented Gulden. Second quarter profits jumped nearly 60 percent at Puma to the equivalent of $55.3 million as overall revenues increased nearly 17 percent to $1.37 billion for the period ended June 30. Americas revenues climbed 20 percent on a currency-adjusted basis to $515.4 million. Global footwear sales were up 14.5 percent to $657.1 million; apparel revenues rose 22.7 percent to $481.2 million. New Hoops Legacy Puma is kicking off year two of its basketball division by introducing Legacy, MSRP $100, a new basketball silhouette inspired by Puma's sports heritage and "built for the next generation of hoops players." Legacy is the brand's third hoops silhouette since the relaunch of the basketball division in October. Legacy features design elements that borrow from 70 years of sporting heritage and also include performance basketball features such as a mid-cut upper with a lacing system design for lock down and ankle protection. An engineered outsole paired with a two toned knit upper blends style and performance, offering forefoot protection, breathability, and flexibility. n Puma Legacy basketball shoe S ales of sports lifestyle footwear slowed in Q2 of this year, but the category is still outperforming other footwear categories, including the performance category, according to point-of-sale information from e NPD Group. Following delivery of Q2 results, e NPD Group released data commentary on the state of the total U.S. footwear market, with Matt Powell, Senior Industry Advisor, Sports at e NPD Group, noting that, "e growth rate in sport lifestyle footwear slowed, as brands have struggled to keep up with consumer demand for fresh looks, yet the category still remains the strongest in footwear sales for now. Small brands continued to outpace larger brands. Performance footwear continued its four-year decline. For the most part, brands that emphasize lifestyle saw stronger numbers than those that focus on performance." Across genders, sport lifestyle sneakers continued to drive sales, as athleisure footwear remains popular, according to Beth Goldstein, Fashion Footwear & Accessories Analyst at e NPD Group. She adds, "Consumers also remained motivated by comfort and versatility; chunkier looks stood out, and the flip-flopping weather drove increased demand for more transitional styles," Per NPD data, total U.S. "leisure" footwear sales in Q2 grew from $3.1B to $3.3B in Q2 2019 versus Q2 2018. Total performance footwear sales fell from $1.7B to $1.6B in the same period. Leisure footwear includes gaiters, insoles, mountaineering boots, work/occupational/safety, skate, hiking/trekking, outdoor/water sandal, sport slide, cold/all-weather boots, sport lifestyle, hunting/fishing boots, and water. Performance footwear includes walking, indoor court, basketball, running, soccer/football, tennis, training, baseball, American football, golf, and all other performance. n Lifestyle Trumping Performance in Footwear Sales Forsake Cascade footwear blends performance and lifestyle. IN THE MARKET / FOOTWEAR

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