PUMA is one cat that keeps changing its stripes. The company, which designs and makes footwear, apparel, and accessories sold under the PUMA, Tretorn, and Cobra Golf labels, was formed when German brothers Rudi and Adi Dassler feuded and split their family firm into adidas and PUMA. While shoes are PUMA's heritage, apparel accounts for a growing portion of sales. It has been expanding its athletic apparel styles to include men's golf, sailing, motorsports, and denim items. PUMA also operates its own retail stores and controls product distribution in many countries. French luxury-goods giant PPR owns a majority stake in PUMA, one of the world's leading athletic shoe companies, along with NIKE and adidas.
PPR bagged a controlling interest in PUMA in a deal valued at more than $7 billion that allowed the French firm to secure its foothold in international footwear. For PUMA, the agreement placed the German athletic shoe maker in PPR's brand portfolio alongside its luxury holdings, including such companies as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. (PUMA had long been rumored to be an acquisition target of the American athletic footwear giant NIKE.) PUMA is central to PPR's plan to build a stronger portfolio of sports and leisure brands.
PUMA is more than a year into a five-year strategy, embarked upon in fall 2010, dubbed "Back on the Attack." The plan aims to position PUMA as the most desirable "sportlifestyle" (defined as sports performance business that caters to its customers' lifestyle) brand in the world, with sales of €4 billion by 2015.The strategy includes additional growth from acquisitions, following on its purchase of Cobra Golf from Acushnet in 2010 to expand its golf business for its upside potential and high-end customers.
With more than €2.8 billion in sales in 2010, PUMA appears to be on its way to its €4 billion target. Sales of accessories (up about 21%), outperformed footwear (up nearly 8%), and apparel sales, which declined. Leading PUMA's "attack" is CEO and company-veteran Franz Koch, who succeeded long-time chief executive Jochen Zeitz in 2011. Zeitz, who held the top job at PUMA since 1993, left PUMA to head a new "sports and lifestyle" division at parent PPR that includes Volcom. – less