Puma says hit by slowdown in Europe in Q1

FRANKFURT - German sporting goods company Puma said a slowdown in Europe hurt its results in the first quarter, with net profit falling 5 percent and missing forecasts.

Puma's headquarters / Photo: Puma

Puma, which competes with larger rivals Nike and Adidas in the lucrative market for sneakers and soccer gear, posted net profit of 74 million euros ($97.7 million) for the three months to end-March on sales up 6.1 percent to 820.9 million euros.

Analysts had expected Puma to report first-quarter net profit of 77.6 million euros and sales to rise 9 percent to 843 million, according to a Reuters poll.

Puma said its first quarter sales in China had been "mediocre", with growth of less than 10 percent, compared with much higher rates elsewhere in Asia. "The Chinese market is challenging," Puma Chief Executive Franz Koch told journalists on Wednesday. "The market is flooded with inventory from local competitors." After reporting a 5 percent fall in net profit in the first quarter, Koch said he expected the group to resume earnings growth in the second quarter.

French luxury goods group PPR, which owns almost 80 percent of Puma, will report quarterly results after the market close on Wednesday.

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