, FRANKFURT, Oct 26 – German sports equipment and clothing company Puma posted Tuesday a strong increase in third quarter sales and profit despite difficult market conditions.
Puma sales rose 16.5 percent from a year earlier to 784.3 million euros (1.1 billion dollars), with net profit up 14.2 percent at 77.6 million euros.
Market conditions were still difficult, a statement said, but the outlook for the fourth quarter was brighter and the company forecast a sales increase of between five and 10 percent in the period.
The full-year net profit would nonetheless be cut by an exceptional charge of around 30 million euros owing to "irregularities" uncovered at a joint venture in Greece.
Looking ahead, Puma confirmed its annual sales target of four billion euros by 2015, through "targeted investments in mature markets and emerging economies."
The Asia-Pacific region would be a focus of growth in the coming years, the company said.
At a press conference, chief executive Jochen Zeitz set six priorities for growth which included restructuring Puma into a more lifestyle-oriented company and developing brands such as Cobra Golf.
French luxury goods group PPR, which owns 71 percent of Puma, recently unveiled a new "Sport & Lifestyle" division, with Puma at its heart.
– Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this story –