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Francois-Henri Pinault, the CEO of Puma’s parent Kering, ruled out a sale of Puma in an interview with Bloomberg Television earlier this week. Press rumours stated that the sports brand was up for sale by Kering which is mainly focussed in the luxury sector.
Bloomberg reported last year that Kering was exploring a sale of Puma, which has struggled in recent years and is launching a turnaround that includes repositioning it backs to its sports roots.
“I’m not selling Puma, full stop,” Pinault told Bloomberg Television. “I’m very confident that we will be able to continue to turn around Puma and to deliver strong growth in the years to come.”
Kering owns an 86% stake in Puma and Pinault also said Kering has no plans to increase its stake. In its last set of financial results Kering reported that under the leadership of its new chief executive, Bjorn Gulden, Puma has restructured its global retail network, narrowed its product range and sought to inject new buzz into the brand, which remains a distant third behind its rivals Nike and Adidas.
But those efforts have been slow to bear fruit. While Puma’s sales rose 3.5% last year, to €3 billion, that growth was outpaced by the group’s smaller sportswear brands, including Volcom and Electric. Puma’s operating profit fell 33% to €128 million, reflecting turnaround and marketing costs.