There were no events after the balance sheet date which may have a material effect on the net assets, financial position and results of operations.
Global Economic Situation
In its winter 2016 forecast, the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) assumes that global gross domestic product (GDP) will grow by 3.5 % in 2017. For 2018, the IfW expects a rise in global production of 3.6%.
The upturn in the advanced economies is expected to continue at a slightly increased pace in the next two years. The main drivers of this growth are general continued expansionary monetary policy, increased fiscal policy incentives and progressively rising wages. While the United States will probably achieve GDP growth of 2.5 % (2017) and 2.7 % (2018), which is above average for this group of countries, the figures for the Euro zone are expected to be 1.7 % in both years.
Expansion in the emerging markets is expected to pick up progressively in the next two years, but no great momentum will be generated, given that commodity prices will continue to be relatively low and structural problems are still unsolved in many cases.
In the view of IfW, risks to global economic development are primarily related to political uncertainty. The impact the change in US President will have on the economic climate is still hard to assess at the moment. Several major European countries will hold elections in 2017. It is also unclear how Brexit will change the economic framework in Europe.
Sporting goods industry
We expect continued stable growth in the global sporting goods industry in 2017, provided it is not significantly impacted negatively by macroeconomic development. Our assumption is that the relevant influences and trends of the last few years will continue. Rising wages will probably further stimulate private consumption globally. Increasing awareness of health and the resulting increase in sports activity by consumers should also lead to a rise in demand for sporting goods. Improvements in sports infrastructure and government initiatives to promote sport, for example in China, should also stimulate growth in the sporting goods industry. Major sports events in 2017, such as the Africa Cup of Nations soccer tournament in Gabon and the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London, are also expected to help support growth in the sporting goods industry.
Based on the development in 2016, where we saw ongoing sales growth and an improvement of profitability, we are confident that PUMA can continue the momentum that it has gained as a brand. In 2017, we will further invest in marketing and continue our “Forever Faster”-brand communication to increase our brand heat by leveraging our ambassadors and to position PUMA as the Fastest Sports Brand in the World. Our global marketing activities will again be centered around athletes, including the World’s Fastest Man and sports icon Usain Bolt, star strikers like Sergio Agüero and Antoine Griezmann, Golfstar Rickie Fowler, Arsenal Football Club, Borussia Dortmund as well as global entertainment assets like multi-platinum recording artist, designer and entrepreneur Rihanna, Kylie Jenner, Cara Delevingne and the R&B star and style icon The Weeknd.
We will continue to work very closely with our retail partners. With our improved product offering including recently launched styles such as the Fierce, Basket Heart, IGNITE Dual and IGNITE Evoknit as well as our FENTY collection we will continue to work hard to get more of the right PUMA products on the shelves of our retail partners. In combination with further investments in our own retail and eCommerce business we will support our direct to consumer business. This should enable us to attract new customers and to increase our market share in most geographies as well as to improve our sell-through across all product categories.
For the full year 2017 we expect that currency-adjusted net sales will increase at a high single-digit rate. The gross profit margin is forecasted to improve to approximately 46.0% (2016: 45.7%). Operating expenses (OPEX) are expected to increase at a mid to high single-digit rate, as PUMA will continue to invest in marketing, in the modernization and expansion of the owned and operated retail store network and in IT-infrastructure. At the same time, management will continue to place a strong emphasis on strict control of other operating costs.
At the current exchange rate levels, PUMA’s management expects that the operating result (EBIT) will improve significantly in 2017, thanks to operating leverage, as sales will increase stronger than OPEX, combined with a slightly improved gross profit margin. EBIT for the full year 2017 is therefore expected to come in between €170 million and € 190 million. Net earnings will also continue to improve significantly in 2017.
PUMA’s management is optimistic that 2017 is another important year with great opportunities and that PUMA is well positioned to carry the brand’s positive momentum into 2017 and beyond.
Investments totaling around € 90 million are planned for 2017. The major portion will go to investments in infrastructure to create the operative preconditions for the planned long-term growth, as well as to expanding our core markets and to selective investments in retail stores.
Foundation for Long-Term Growth
The Managing Directors and the Administrative Board have established the long-term strategic priorities. Action plans are being implemented in a targeted, value-oriented manner. PUMA’s management believes that the “Forever Faster”-corporate strategy will lay the foundations for positive medium and long-term development.