Puma CEO: We're not competing with Nike and Adidas
- Puma is making gains in the sportswear sector.
- The company reported a sales increase of 15.7% for the second quarter of 2019 and opened a new flagship store on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue in New York City on Thursday.
- Though the company still trails behind bigger companies like Adidas and Nike, Puma CEO Bjørn Gulden told Business Insider: "I don't see my job as competing against all the brands. I see it as trying to be a good brand for the consumer."
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Puma might be smaller than other leading athletic brands, but the German company is making tremendous gains.
The company reported stellar earnings in 2018 and a sales increase of 15.7% for the second quarter of 2019.
"The brand is much smaller than the big names but definitely getting some traction," VP and senior industry advisor for NPD Group Matt Powell told Footwear News earlier in August.
"I don't see my job as competing against all the brands," Puma CEO Bjørn Gulden told Business Insider inside of the brand new Manhattan flagship store on Fifth Avenue. "I see it as trying to be a good brand for the consumer."
Another executive agreed.
"We think that we play in a different lane than those brands," Puma's North American president Bob Philion explained, admitting that brands like Nike and Adidas are much bigger than Puma.
Philion pointed to different elements that separate Puma from competitors, such as offerings that blend sport and lifestyle apparel, two categories that are starting to grow less distinct.
"We're playing in a really good space that is growing," Philion said.
Executives also say that Puma's growth comes from different places. Philion cited advancements in everything from product to marketing that has helped the brand grow.
"We're getting better at everything that we do," he said.
Puma re-entered the basketball sector last year to great success and plans to continue capitalizing on that market in North America.
With 18,000 square-feet spanning two floors, Puma's new Manhattan flagship further represents the company's continued commitment to the North American market, executives said. The store will also serve as a "lab" for testing out what works and what doesn't, featuring three separate interactive experiences like a simulator to test out shoes on a virtual soccer pitch.
Both Gulden and Philion agree that winning over the American market - or one-third of Puma's total business - is essential for growth. The flagship is intended to help achieve that goal.
"Let's be honest," Philian said. "The size of the prize is significant here."