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Puma forecasts strong rebound from end of second quarter

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Puma forecasts strong rebound from end of second quarter 1

BERLIN (Reuters) – German sportswear company Puma said on Wednesday it expects a heavy impact on its results from lockdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic through the end of the second quarter, but said it sees strong improvements after that.

“We do expect the negative impact to continue through the first and parts of the second quarter, but expect to see an improvement in the second half of the year,” Chief Executive Bjorn Gulden said in a statement.

For the full year, it expects at least a moderate increase in sales in constant currency, with an upside potential, and a significant improvement compared with 2020 for both its operating and net profit.

Fourth-quarter sales rose by a currency-adjusted 9.1% to 1.52 billion euros ($1.85 billion) and operating profit by 14.6% to 63 million euros, meeting average analyst forecasts for 1.52 billion and 62 million euros respectively.

Puma said growth in the fourth quarter was driven by Greater China and its Europe, Middle East and Africa region, despite lockdowns in Europe, noting that about half of the stores selling its products in Europe are still closed today.

Rival Nike in December raised its full-year sales forecast after COVID-wary shoppers demanding outdoor sportswear drove its third consecutive surge in online sales.

($1 = 0.8226 euros)

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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