Puma hails Rihanna brand impact, fears discounts

Rihanna
Updated 24 October 2017
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Puma hails Rihanna brand impact, fears discounts

BERLIN: Puma expects gross margins to be squeezed by discounting in the fourth quarter, despite a new collection from singer Rihanna helping the German sportswear company raise its 2017 sales and operating earnings outlook.
Puma said on Tuesday that third-quarter sales rose a currency-adjusted 23 percent in Europe, Middle East and Africa, 16 percent in the Americas and 10 percent in Asia/Pacific.
Like its German rival Adidas, which reports results on Nov. 9, Puma has been enjoying a revival in the US market, as shoppers snap up its retro styles instead of basketball shoes, hurting Under Armor and Nike.
“Rihanna’s relationship with us makes the brand actual and hot again with young consumers,” Chief Executive Bjorn Gulden told a media call, adding that growth in Puma’s gear for women was outstripping other areas of the business.
Puma, which was bought by French luxury goods company Kering in 2007, had been struggling for years, but analysts expect Kering could seek to sell its stake in the course of 2018 now that the German brand is performing well again.
Gulden cautioned that fourth-quarter gross margins could be weaker due to heavy discounting, particularly in the United States where retailers are struggling, and in Europe, due to mild weather deterring shoppers from buying winter gear.
Nike last month posted its slowest quarterly sales growth in nearly seven years in the face of intensifying competition from Adidas and Puma and a looming price war amid retailers.


Fast cash from slimy pests: Thai farmers on the money trail with snail mucus

Updated 15 min 5 sec ago
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Fast cash from slimy pests: Thai farmers on the money trail with snail mucus

  • The snails were once the scourge of Thai rice farmers, loathed for eating the buds of new crop
  • But now fetch between 25 baht and 30 baht — about $1 — a kilo

NAKHON NAYOK, Thailand: Giant snails inch across a plate of pumpkin and cucumber in central Thailand, an “organic” diet to tease the prized collagen-rich mucus from the mollusks, which to some cosmetic firms are now more valuable than gold.
The snails at Phatinisiri Thangkeaw’s farm were once the scourge of rice farmers, loathed for eating the buds of new crops.
“Farmers used to throw them on the road or in the rivers,” Phatinisiri said. “But now they sell them to me to earn extra money.”
With her 1,000 snails, the teacher makes an extra $320 to $650 a month.
It is one of more than 80 farms in Nakhon Nayok province, two hours from the capital Bangkok, cashing in on the global snail beauty market, estimated at $314 million, according to research group Coherent Market Insights.
The precious slime is patiently “milked” from the glands of the snail by dripping water over it using a pipette.
Its raw form is sold to Aden International, a Thai-based cosmetics company that primarily ships its products to Korea and the US.
The sole snail slime producer in Thailand, Aden was started three years ago as a business-savvy solution to the snail infestation in Nakhon Nayok, said founder Kitpong Puttarathuvanun.
And his bet paid off — Kitpong sells the serum under the Acha brand, but also supplies Korean and American cosmetic companies with a dried powder at 1.8 million baht ($58,200) per kilogram, he said.
Gold is currently worth $46,300 a kilogram.
Compared to Aden’s snail slime, the mucus produced in China — milked daily instead of once every three weeks in Thailand — is valued at about 80,000 baht ($2,600) per kilogram, Kitpong said.
“We found that our slime was very intense because the snails eat everything, including vegetables, grains and even mushrooms ... producing good quality slime,” he said, explaining that the mucus can be used to heal sunburn and “heal wounds.”
Somkamol Manchun, the doctor in charge of the purification process, said snail mucus contains collagen and elastin — ingredients that “can make skin firm with less wrinkles.”
It “triggers the skin cells... and helps heal the skin.”
At the moment, no scientific studies have been done on the curative qualities of snail serum and slime, but snail farmer Phatinisiri is already feeling the market heat up.
Two years ago, she was the first in the area to try farming the slime, she said, and villagers readily gave her what they considered pests.
“Now I buy snails at about 25 baht to 30 baht (about $1) per kilogram,” she said. “But many people are doing snail farms now so the competition is high.”