Puma warns of hit to sales and profits from coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: The logo of German sports goods firm Puma is seen at the entrance of one of its stores in Vienna, Austria, March 18, 2016. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

HERZOGENAURACH, Germany (Reuters) - German sportswear group Puma PUMG.DE on Wednesday said it expected China's coronavirus outbreak to hit its sales and profits in the first quarter but it still hopes to reach its targets for 2020.

Puma said more than half of its stores in China were temporarily closed and the decline of the Chinese tourism business was also hurting other markets, especially in Asia. Puma generates almost a third of its sales in Asia.

Puma said fourth-quarter sales rose a currency-adjusted 18% to 1.479 billion euros ($1.60 billion), while earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) jumped 47% to 55 million, both above average analyst forecasts for 1.43 billion and 52 million respectively.

The company said it expected 2020 currency-adjusted sales growth of around 10% and an EBIT of between 500 million and 520 million, as well as a significant improvement in net profit.

Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Michelle Martin