Dear Shareholders of PUMA,
2015 was a successful year, in which we have further strengthened the PUMA brand, presented better products and further improved the co-operation with our retail partners. Our hard work has started to show results: 2015 delivered the highest net sales we have ever had based on growth across all regions and product categories. We know there is still a lot to improve – but I am happy to say that we achieved progress on all of our key priorities towards our mission of becoming the World’s Fastest Sports Brand.
In 2015 we focused on five strategic priorities: Increasing PUMA’s brand heat, improving our product engine, optimizing our distribution quality, increasing the speed within our organization, and upgrading our IT infrastructure.
“In 2015 we achieved progress on all of our key priorities.”
One focus of our activities in 2015 was clearly to continue the repositioning of our brand, which began in 2014 with the largest brand campaign in our company history. Our second “Forever Faster” advertising campaign in 2015 focused on our brand ambassadors and showed how they were training with PUMA products to get into shape for the major events in 2016. Rihannajoined Usain Bolt, Arsenal London and other athletes for the campaign. That included her first TV spot for our new training shoe IGNITE XT.
With regards to the improvement of our product engine , our collections in 2015 stood out for their clearer design, more innovative technologies, and greater commerciality of the products. Not only was the feedback from our retail partners more positive, but also the increase in sell-in and sell-through shows that the product improvements have started to resonate well with our partners and consumers. The product highlights in 2015 included our new running shoe technology IGNITE, which we have built into a cornerstone of our Running and Training category. In Football, we continued to strengthen our product platforms evoSPEED and evoPOWER with new products such as the evoSPEED SL, which is the lightest football shoe in the market at 103 grams. In Lifestyle, we introduced the first shoe models designed by Rihanna. We will launch a complete women’s collection of shoes and textiles under the “FENTY by Rihanna” label in 2016, which was presented at the New York Fashion Week in February 2016.
“The increase in sell-in and sellthrough shows that the product improvements have started to resonate well with our partners and consumers.”
Through joint product and marketing programs with our key retailers, we managed to further improve the quality of our sales and distribution. In 2015, we continued the roll-out of the retail concept “PUMA Lab”, initially launched with Foot Locker in 2014, both in the U.S. and in first locations in Europe and Australia. During the year we intensified our collaboration with other well-known retailers such as Finish Line, Champs, and INTERSPORT with the aim of improving the presence of the PUMA brand in stores, better communicating our product promise on site, and thereby achieving a sustained sales increase.
PUMA’s own retail stores saw the launch of our new “Forever Faster” store concept, which improves the presentation of our products and related technologies and strengthens our position as a sports brand. This concept was first introduced at group headquarters in Herzogenaurach and then in more than 20 additional locations throughout the year. To further improve and expand our online presence, we have rolled out and further enhanced our integrated web shop in 2015.
One of the key projects in terms of our organizational structure was standardizing and optimizing the processes between PUMA and its suppliers by establishing a new platform to manage global order and invoice flows. Beyond that, PUMA has also made further progress in the modernization of our IT setup, which included the optimization of our basic IT-infrastructure and improved internal workflows.
Furthermore, we simplified our organization in other areas to make processes faster. For example by merging our two non-perfor mance product areas Sportstyle and Fundamentals under joint leadership. In addition, we have combined the two regions Europe and EEMEA under joint management and are serving the heterogeneous Asian markets more effectively now. By integrating the regional team in APAC into the global organization we eliminated this additional reporting layer and gave local management direct access to our global resources. We are very confident that all of these chang es and investments will bring PUMA a step closer to becoming the Fastest Sports Brand in the World.
I am especially proud to see our positive development in the women’s business, where our co-operation with Rihanna and a strong product offering have increased the interest from both retailers and consumers.
We believe that “The future is female”. Athletic wear is turning into fashion as women are increasingly integrating sportswear and sports-inspired pieces into their daily outfits. PUMA as the most fashion-forward global sports brand has both the sports authenticity and the fashion credibility to own the space where the gym meets the runway. This is why 2016 and the coming seasons will see us increasing our strategic focus on the female target group. As our brand ambassador and Creative Director, Rihanna is a key element of this strategy and will continue to influence both our Performance and Sportstyle women’s collections with her intuitive, highly individual style.
“We want to own the space where the gym meets the runway”
Sustainability also remains a priority for us. We have finished our 2010 to 2015 target period with significant reductions in paper consumption and waste creation for our own entities. In addition, we met our target of improving social standards at PUMA’s third-party suppliers and successfully finished a large-scale resource efficiency program for our key suppliers in Asia. We remain committed to the United Nations Global Compact and its ten principles and have set ourselves ten ambitious new sustainability targets that we aim to reach by 2020.
We know that our people are our biggest asset. This is why I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincerest thanks to our team at PUMA – as well as to you, our shareholders, for your continued support and belief in us. The positive development in 2015 would not have been possible without the hard work of everyone at PUMA. This is also reflected by the theme of this Annual Report, “PUMA Training”. We are all training to become a little bit better and faster every day. Through our continuous training, we have laid the groundwork to capitalize on an amazing sports year in 2016 – with the Olympic Games in Rio, the Copa América in the USA and the UEFA Euro in France. 2016 will see us training towards better products, more and better marketing and an even closer co-operation with our retailers.