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Puma first quarter profits soar

Puma, the footwear, clothing and accessories brand owned by French luxury fashion house PPR, saw its first quarter profits soar and said it remains confident for the full year and particularly the World Cup period this summer.

Puma’s pre-tax profit for the first quarter in 2010 jumped from €2.4m (£2.1m) in 2009 to €117.8m (£102m), due in part to a far lower level of discounting.

It’s gross profit margin came in at 52.2%, up from 52.1% last year.

However, Puma’s sales for the quarter fell back 2.1% to €683.1m (£591.7m). Sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa dropped back 3.9% to €351.8m (£304.7m).

The company said it expects sales to strengthen throughout the year and that the company’s pre-tax profit for the full year was expected to improve by at least 70% in 2010, with sales up by a single-digit figure.

Puma chief executive Jochen Zeitz said: “We had a good start into the new year from a bottom line perspective which highlights the effectiveness of our comprehensive restructuring and reengineering efforts.”

He added: “Assuming a continuous improvement of the economic outlook and a planned increase of supplier orders, we anticipate low to mid single digit growth for the full year, while net earnings should jump significantly to complete the expected earnings rebound. We are now looking forward to the upcoming World Cup and to a successful integration of our newly acquired Cobra Golf business.”

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