Puma is banking on the back-to-school season to turn around its fortunes.
The activewear firm, which remains under pressure following another difficult quarter, said it would refrain from any major marketing activities around the upcoming soccer World Cup starting in June and rather concentrate its offensive on late summer, “when retail is highest in our industry,” said Puma’s chief executive officer Björn Gulden.
“Why not now? Because now everybody is using the World Cup,” Gulden said during a conference call on Wednesday.
“We will look very, very good there, better than the other brands,” he assured, referring to the team kits that Puma is providing to Italy, Ivory Coast and Uruguay, among others, but added it would be “a waste of media money” to spend all the company’s marketing budget there.
“During the World Cup the noise is very big, not just from sports brands, but also car and credit card companies,” he said.
Instead, Puma is slated to launch its image campaign, “Forever Faster,” in August. “This is the first global campaign in a long time; it will run at the same time in all regions,” which means “more efficiency” and “fewer costs,” since “all the regions will be aligned,” Gulden explained.
The ceo repeated the company’s projections of a weak first half of the year followed by more momentum in the second half, when growth generated by the World Cup is likely to kick in. “Statistically, the market grows after a World Cup and not before, which is when we expect a push,” he said.
Puma on Wednesday unveiled the new EvoPower boot called Tricks, with a pink right and a blue left boot that it said would be worn in Brazil, the World Cup’s hosting nation, by its high-profile testimonials, including Mario Balotelli, Cesc Fàbregas and Gianluigi Buffon.
Gulden cautioned, however, that the sporting event was a double-edged sword. “There is a certain cannibalization effect,” he noted, adding that as retailers buy more World Cup-related products, they pass on other categories. “In the end you have to ask: What are you selling less of?”
The Kering-controlled, Herzogenaurach, Germany-based firm said first-quarter net earnings slumped 29 percent.
Negatively impacted by volatile currencies in several key regions, including Russia, Turkey, Japan and the Americas, net earnings stood at 35.6 million euros, or $48.8 million, in the first three months ended March 31 versus 50.3 million euros, or $66.4 million, in the same year-ago period.
Total company sales for the quarter were down 7 percent to 725.7 million euros, or $994.4 million. Adjusted for currencies, sales remained down 0.5 percent, while in Brazil, the declines were “major” due to “distribution issues,” the company reported, without releasing specific numbers.
Dollar figures are calculated at average exchange for the period to which they refer.
Broken down by category, only accessories grew, up 4 percent, while footwear and apparel fell by 14 and 4 percent, respectively.
Gulden assured, though, that, “We know that the repositioning of Puma and the turnaround of the business will take time, but I am convinced that we are progressing well on all our key strategic priorities and that we have initiated the right projects to make 2014 the start of the turnaround.
“If successful, we will hopefully see a bigger improvement in 2015,” he added.
Puma shares closed at 213 euros, down 1.16 percent, on Wednesday.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast