April 12, 2017 / 7:03 AM / 4 months ago

Puma raises profit, sales guidance after strong first quarter

The logo of Puma sportswear company is seen at its store at Tbilisi Mall in Tbilisi, Georgia, April 22, 2016.David Mdzinarishvili

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German sporting goods maker Puma (PUMG.DE) lifted its profit and sales guidance for 2017 after posting strong first-quarter earnings in a surprise release on Wednesday that looked set to lift its shares 2.5 percent at market open.

Puma, majority-owned by French luxury-goods company Kering (PRTP.PA), said it expected earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 185-200 million euros (£157-169 million) in 2017, up from a previous guidance of 170-190 million euros.

First-quarter EBIT jumped by about 70 percent to 70 million euros, it said.

In February, Retro sneakers and endorsements by stars like Usain Bolt and Rihanna had already helped Puma deliver strong sales growth in the fourth quarter and make a confident forecast for 2017.

Chief Executive Bjorn Gulden has led a gradual turnaround of a brand that had fallen far behind market leaders Nike (NKE.N) and Adidas (ADSGn.DE).

It also said on Wednesday that sales would increase by a low double-digit percentage rate, when adjusted for currency swings, up from a previous guidance of a high single-digit percentage increase.

Puma plans to release full quarterly results on April 25.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Georgina Prodhan

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