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Puma edges past rivals in India sales to emerge as top sportswear brand

Puma
Apart from Puma, Adidas and American athletic footwear brand Skechers are among the only other sportswear brands that have shown strong signs of growth over the years.
Puma has edged past arch rival Adidas to emerge as the top sportswear retailer in India.

Puma reported sales of Rs 1,157 crore for a period of 12 months ending December 2018 up from Rs 958 crore for the corresponding period a year ago. India is the only market globally where the German sports lifestyle brand has surged ahead of sportswear giants such as Nike and Adidas. The company, however, follows a calendar year, January-December, while others, including Nike and Adidas follow the financial year i.e. April-March.

Puma CEO Bjorn Gulden had earlier told TOI that India is expected to become one of the company’s top five markets by 2020 from being the eight largest in 2016. “2018 has been a great year for us. Globally there is huge momentum in the brand. We are making strong progress in both Sports Performance and Sport Style categories,” said Puma India MD Abhishek Ganguly.

Puma’s success comes against the backdrop of the athleisure trend that has gripped the sportswear market. While other companies flaunt performance and technology, Puma focuses on style that make its products attractive to the casual dresser. It’s choice of global brand ambassadors, too, including Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima and singer Selena Gomez, is a testimony to that fact.

Ganguly also credited the women’s category and Puma’s direct to consumer e-commerce business for playing major roles in the company’s growth. “Women’s segment is a key element of our strategy. There are paradigm shifts happening in the India women’s lifestyle, evolving their buying behaviour. We have also tripled our sales through puma.com in this year,” he said.

While the company recently roped in boxer Mary Kom as a brand ambassador, Puma’s signing of Indian cricket skipper Virat Kohli for Rs 100 crore has also paid off with One8, the brand he co-created with company, clocking Rs 100 crore in sales within the first year of its launch.

Apart from Puma, Adidas and American athletic footwear brand Skechers are among the only other sportswear brands that have shown strong signs of growth over the years. Adidas clocked sales of Rs 1,132 crore in 2017-18 up from Rs 1,100 crore in FY2016-17. However, Reebok, which is owned by Adidas, witnessed its sales dipping from Rs 416 crore in FY2016-17 to Rs 391 crore in 2017-18.

Skechers, a relative newcomer to the domestic market, reported sales of around Rs 440 crore during this period up from Rs 282 crore FY2016-17. Last week, it announced plans of running its India operations independently and bought out Future Group promoters' 49% stake in its Indian joint venture. American sportswear giant Nike reported sales of Rs 828 crore for this period up from Rs 807 crore the previous year.
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