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Could Puma Pounce on Nike’s Bounce to DTC?


Puma SE CEO Bjorn Gulden says how much The Cat could benefit from Nike’s continued exodus from wholesale accounts “is impossible to quantify at this point,” but confirms the impending Swoosh shift is already cultivating conversations between Puma personnel and retailers.

“There is no door in the U.S. where we (Puma) are overdistributed,” Gulden commented after suggesting he has yet to see Nike distribution leaving “a whole lot of stores yet.”

In reporting strong third quarter results that included a 14 percent increase in global footwear sales and a nearly 21 percent constant-currency increase in Americas’ revenues to the equivalent of $642 million, Puma senior executives today confirmed the company hasn’t yet experienced any retail order cancellations due to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic that include rising cases and possible new government restrictions in certain markets.

Puma generated double-digit, year-over-year sales growth in August and September after a “flattish” July. Gulden said the start of the brand’s October business was “in line” with internal expectations, later suggesting he hopes promotional levels reached their peak in the third quarter and wondering whether athletic brands will have the “right inventory” on hand for 2020’s final quarter.

“We feel we have an inventory that is healthy and that we can work with over the next six months,” Gulden said.

On the marketing and product front, Puma will unveil a women’s marketing strategy, “She Moves Us,” and new ambassadors in 2021. The company also has a new logo/signature emblem in place for newly signed brand endorser, soccer star Neymar who recently signed a multi-year deal. In basketball, the Cat will lean on new endorser Lamelo Ball to spark interest.

As for running, a category the global brand has had limited to no impact on recently, Gulden is cautiously optimistic that a new product line in 2021, developed by a new Puma running team over the last 18 months, will alas give the brand’s some traction in segment that has made some new strides since the pandemic’s onset.