Puma hopes for big score by 2010

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June 19, 2006/busrep




Johannesburg - German sports goods maker Puma expected its sales in Africa to increase four times over the next few years on the back of the soccer World Cup tournament to be held in South Africa in 2010, chief executive Jochen Zeitz has said.

This will be the first time that the soccer World Cup is held in Africa.

Puma, one of the largest sportswear makers, planned to achieve this by aggressively beefing up its marketing campaign in the continent over the next five to six years. Zeitz did not give figures or how much the group would spend on marketing.

\"Africa is a large market with growth potential … South Africa will be the driving force for Puma\'s growth in Africa,\" he said.

Zeitz said Puma\'s sales in Africa have doubled annually since 2004.

Africa accounts for 2.5 percent of Puma\'s revenue.

Puma has repositioned its business as a lifestyle sport brand and brought in new clothing designers to attract more people beyond the sport fraternity.

Puma distributes products in more than 80 countries. Its revenue for 2005 was e1.8 billion (R15.6 billion).

Puma has been selling products in South Africa since 1979. It established a subsidiary in 2001 and its sales had since doubled, said Zeitz. It employs 104 people in South Africa and 5 092 globally.

According to Reuters, Zeitz did not rule out opening shops in Africa and said that Kenya and Tanzania looked promising.

He confirmed that Puma was targeting sales growth of up to 35 percent this year, but declined to give forecast for soccer-related sales.

Ronald Rink, the managing director of Puma South Africa, said some of the group\'s wares were manufactured by factories in Durban, Cape Town and Lesotho.

The group sponsors 10 African soccer teams with sport gear. Five of the teams - Togo, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tunisia and Angola - are playing in the soccer World Cup in Germany. However, the kit of the South African national soccer team, Bafana Bafana, is sponsored by Adidas.

Puma and Adidas have slugged it out on their home turf in Germany. Both companies as well as US-based firm Nike have spent millions of rands in supplying kit to teams participating in the World Cup. However, Adidas, which has bought US firm Reebok, trails behind Puma.

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