Puma aims to adapt

16 May 2011

HERZOGENAURACH: Puma is aiming to make the transition from a sportswear to lifestyle brand, reflecting evolving shopper preferences.

Luxury goods group PPR bought Puma in 2007, since when sales have climbed by just 3.1%, due both to the recession and intensifying competition from Nike and Adidas.

This year, PPR has reorganised its corporate structure into two units, one of which houses high-end assets, and the other focusing on sports and lifestyle.

As the central prop in this latter division, Puma is set to pursue the sort of diversified model pioneered by Gucci, also part of PPR.

In the recent past, Gucci has rolled out a range of offerings beyond its original specialism, and made acquisitions bolstering its portfolio in various sectors.

Overall, the objective will be to drive up Puma revenues by 50%, to $6bn, by 2015.

"The sports and lifestyle segment shares common characteristics with the luxury segment, growing fast in the same regions of the world," François-Henri Pinault, PPR's chief executive, told Business Week.

He further suggested that the strategy adopted by Gucci "has been proven in the last ten years - it was a winning choice."

Puma, which owns the Cobra Golf and Tretorn brands, is to boost investment behind research and development, marketing and enhancing its store network, especially in China and India.

Having agreed to buy Volcom, an expert in skating apparel accessories, for $607.7m, Pinault expressed a desire to complete purchases in areas Puma does not have a presence, like hiking.

Rather than obtaining established players, the goal will be to identify smaller operators boasting considerable potential for expansion.

"Buying a big brand that is already mature in this segment is meaningless for PPR," Pinault said.

"[We will progress] with the same logic as in luxury-not too big-to be able to grow fast and to create value."

Data sourced from Business Week; additional content by Warc staff