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Puma like-for-likes soar

German sportswear giant Puma grew like-for-like sales by nearly a third to €623.4m (£523m) in the three months to December 31, but has warned that the rising cost of materials and labour will impact its bottom line.

Puma, which is the world’s third largest sportswear brand after Nike and Adidas, said the record fourth quarter performance reflected an improved consumer environment. It turned a €7.2m (£6.1m) loss in the fourth quarter of 2009 into a profit of €14m (£11.7m) in the comparable period this year.

Puma forecast that its sales would grow by mid- to high- single digits in 2011, but added that rising labour and materials costs would erode its margins. It predicted it would increase retail prices in 2012 or sooner.

The company also reiterated its “back on the attack” strategy to reach €4bn (£3.36bn) annual turnover by 2015, and indicated it would hit the acquisitions trail to fuel growth.

Chief executive officer Jochen Zeitz, who is due to step down from the role and head up the Sports and Lifestyle division at Puma’s parent company, French luxury fashion house PPR later this year, said “Puma’s organic growth is more than intact” but that it would look for sportswear and lifestyle brands as potential acquisition targets.

He added that it would explore product collaborations with designers “in the area of sustainability”, following its collaboration with Alexander McQueen.

Puma has yet to appoint a replacement chief executive for Zeitz.

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