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Business

Puma Expects to Cool Down in 2005

The leaping cat of the sporting goods maker Puma is not likely to jump as high next year as it has over the last five, according to executives at the company's headquarters in Herzogenaurach. While Puma expects it will continue on its upwards trajectory in 2005 and forecasts growth between 5 and 10 percent, those rates will be its slowest growth in seven years. Largely to blame, according to Chief Executive Jochen Zeitz, is lackluster demand in Germany, France and Britain. "You can't expect that you can achieve the same growth rates" as in previous years, and European markets have "become more difficult," he said at a briefing. Puma's profit increased 25-fold and sales quadrupled over the past five years, making it one of the fastest growing businesses in the sporting goods market. It has benefited from the demand for urban fashion and sneakers with designs inspired by those worn in the 1970s.

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