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By
Reuters
Published
Mar 24, 2011
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Puma CEO says will cope with Japan earthquake

By
Reuters
Published
Mar 24, 2011

March 24 - German sporting goods group Puma said the closure of its shops in Japan, its second largest market, as a result of the earthquake and tsunami will not throw it off course.

Puma

"The economic consequences are still unclear, but we will swallow it," outgoing Puma Chief Executive Jochen Zeitz said at an event on Wednesday evening.

Zeitz, usually reticent to give sales figures for individual countries, revealed that the Japanese market makes up around 10 percent of Puma's sales, making it the group's second largest market behind the United States.

He said most of its shops in Japan were closed last week, although normal service should resume from Thursday, with the exception of one store in the north-east region worst affected by the earthquake and resulting tsunami.

The group said last week that all of its 652 employees in the country had been accounted for and that it had used its showroom in Osaka as a shelter for some employees.

Supply chain disruptions in Japan have hit global electronics and automakers hardest, although the knock-on effect has already spread to other industries such as mining.

Zeitz said the group, the world's third largest sports apparel company behind Nike and Adidas, has production in Japan, but that it was not in the crisis area.

The long-term Puma manager, who will switch to parent PPR to expand the Gucci owner's sport and lifestyle division in the spring, also said he had wished to step down sooner but was asked to stay on to steer the group through the global economic crisis.

(Reporting by Christian Kraemer; writing by Victoria Bryan)

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