Sportswear maker ups forecast after sales leap in first quarter

Footwear sales grew 24.8 percent to reach 498.9 million euros, with more modest growth in its clothing and accessories segments.

German sportswear maker Puma says net profit nearly doubled in the first quarter

Revenues at the Bavaria-based group grew by 18 percent year-on-year to 1.005 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in currency-adjusted terms, while operating, or underlying profit added 70.1 percent to reach 70.2 million.

Puma, which counts high-profile sports stars such as sprinter Usain Bolt and celebrities including singer Rihanna among its celebrity endorsements, said first-quarter net profit reached 49.6 million euros -- almost double last year's figure.

"This stronger-than-expected start of the year further shows that Puma is on the right path. Therefore we have raised our outlook for the full year," chief executive Bjorn Gulden said in a statement.

Puma now expects sales to increase by more than 10 percent over the year, compared with just under 10 percent in its previous guidance.

That will power operating profit to between 185 and 200 million euros, up from the previous range of 170-190 million, while "net earnings will improve significantly."

Puma has kept up momentum from last year, when its sponsorships in athletics, football and celebrity held it in the public eye during the football World Cup and Summer Olympics.

New signings to its roster in the first quarter include French football team Olympique de Marseille and Germany's Borussia Moenchengladbach -- although both will first step out in Puma kit in the 2018-19 season.

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