German sportswear specialist Puma reported a 3.7 percent rise in first quarter profits, but warned that it expected growth to slow into the low single-digits due to weak order writing at the end of the quarter. The company said net earnings for the three months ended 30 April rose to â‚¬96.6 million from â‚¬93.1 million, while net sales increased 2 percent to â‚¬655.8 million. Sales in the US and the Asian-Pacific region slipped 4.1 percent and 0.9 percent respectively, although China reported double-digit gains. Europe faired much better, with sales up 6.4 percent to â‚¬360.9 million.
Meanwhile, footwear sales rose 3.6 percent to â‚¬413.5 million. Apparel and accessories fared less well, sliding 0.5 percent to â‚¬200.7 million and 1.2 percent to â‚¬41.7 million respectively.
â€œWhile the remainder of the off-year in terms of major sports events will certainly be challenging, given our current order book, we continue to be fully focused on our long-term objectives,â€? said chief executive Jochen Zeitz, admitting that the quarterly results would have consequences for the rest of the year. Puma is subject to a takeover from French retail giant PPR, which last month said it could buy a controlling stake in the company and would offer â‚¬330 per share for the rest of the company’s stock.