Over the past 12 months Puma has ramped up its local retail operations, setting up a dedicated retail team and launching an online store.
The sportswear brand plans to return to full line stores in Australia by next year under new global template, Forever Faster.
Puma, which has 10 outlet stores in Australia, has previously operated full line bricks and mortar stores, but according to Paul Gaultier, GM of Puma Oceania, high rents, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, was one of the main reasons for store closures.
“The stores weren’t successful. They have to be clicking 100 per cent to make money and I don’t think at the time, from what I’ve seen, we were doing that or doing a good job there,” Gaultier said.
“Things are changing now. We are looking to invest in full priced stores. We don’t plan to do many, but we are planning to open a few strategic ones where we can present our brand in the right way.”
The brand set up a local retail team around 10 months ago, which is responsible for DFO stores, demand planning, and buying.
“I think we have a formula now which we didn’t have before,” Gaultier said of the newly created retail team.
“The DFO stores were under a lot of pressure before this team was formulated and now they are working very well, which gives us the support we need to open full priced stores.”
The company expects the first full line store to open in either Melbourne or Sydney, depending on location, by next year. It will then look to rollout one store in each capital city.
As part of its retail push, Puma launched an online store in June, headed by a small, locally based e-commerce team.
“We haven’t done an official launch. We’ve just done a soft launch at the moment to iron out any of the issues you might get with e-commerce, particularly on the back end and supply chain side.”
While a rollout of full line stores is planned for the group, Gaultier says Puma does not intend to close any of the DFO stores.
“I don’t see why would we want to close them when they’re profitable and there’s a position in the marketplace for them, but we have got to the point where we have right level of DFO stores in the market. I don’t think we need anymore.”
New stores will based on Puma’s new global retail blueprint, Forever Faster, which focuses on Puma performance products, mainly football and performance running.
“The global retail team are creating these Forever Faster store concepts. Forever Faster is about going to back to performance products as opposed to being lifestyle driven, which we were in the past.
“The marketing will also be predominately around football and running. We’ll copy and paste here as much as we can.”