Puma expects profits to rise with World Cup 2006

Puma AG, the sports apparel and shoe maker that has lagged behind rivals adidas-Salomon AG and Nike Inc, said its third-quarter profit rose 11 percent as demand for its sports shoes surged in the United States.

Demand for its clothes and shoes rose in all its key markets, including Europe and Asia, but rose 63.6 percent year-on-year in the United States to US$ 164.96 million, with footwear accounting for nearly 49 percent of the revenue. In Europe, sales rose 5 percent to US$ 416.6 million, while in Asia and the Pacific Rim, sales rose by 11.6 percent to US$ 65 million in the quarter.

Puma has expanded its presence in soccer, and is expecting an increase in sales of soccer products ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2006 event in Germany next summer. Chief Executive, Jochen Zeitz, said the company would see an increase in its soccer-related apparel sales. "We expect solid double-digit growth in football next year," he was quoted by AP's Matt Moore.

Puma is sponsoring nine teams in next year's tournament, including Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

See also: World Cup products to boost Addidas sales (13 Oct)