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Puma raises sales outlook despite supply challenges

puma reuters sales

German sportswear company Puma (PUMG.DE) increased its 2021 sales outlook on Wednesday even as it highlighted supply-chain pressures from a coronavirus lockdown in Vietnam, port congestion and container shortages.

Factories in Vietnam, a big supplier to the footwear industry, have been closed due to COVID-19 outbreaks and factory owners have said they only expect to fully resume operations from the second half of 2022.

Puma Chief Executive Bjorn Gulden said the company was also having to cope with port congestion and shortages of container ships that are pushing up freight costs, along with a “very difficult market situation” in China.

“We foresee the high demand for our products to continue, but we also see supply constraints continue to be a problem for the rest of the year,” Gulden said in a statement.

Third-quarter sales rose a currency-adjusted 20.4 per cent to 1.9 billion euros ($2.21 billion), while operating profit jumped to 229 million euros, both well ahead of average analyst forecasts.

Rival Nike Inc (NKE.N) cut its fiscal 2022 sales expectations last month and said it expected delays during the holiday shopping season, blaming a supply chain crunch.

Puma sales jumped 31 per cent in the Americas and 22 per cent in Europe, Middle East and Africa. But they only rose 1.7 per cent in Asia/Pacific due to ongoing tensions in China and COVID-19 lockdowns in markets like Japan.

Western brands, including Puma, faced online attacks in China in late March over past statements saying they would not source cotton from Xinjiang after reports of human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims. Beijing denies any such abuses.

Puma said it now expects full-year currency-adjusted sales to rise at least 25 per cent, up from a previous outlook for at least 20 per cent, while it now sees operating profit between 450 million and 500 million euros, compared to a previous 400-500 million.

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