We say this all the time, luxury is a perception. So the fact that PPR the masterminds behind Gucci wants to make Puma a luxury lifestyle is no surprise to us at MosnarCommunications.com . So what is defined as a lifestyle? Well this is where PPR has a real advantage because when it comes to the athletic shoe market has this really ever been defined for luxury?

Sure there is Adidas and Nike (NKE) well known rivals in comparison to Puma. However, when defining luxury these two competitors are not in the same class. Just changing the concept of the Puma brand to be a more fashion-oriented designer sports gear market has made it a top pick among luxury consumers.

Puma sales grew just 3.1 percent from 2007 to 2009. “A lot of people jumped in on what their niche was, and suddenly they were left looking pretty naked,” says Simon Irwin, an analyst at Liberum Capital.

PPR is determined to help Puma get a second wind. Chief Executive Officer François-Henri Pinault wants to increase revenue more than $1.4 billion by 2015 by building a portfolio of “sports and lifestyle” brands around Puma. It’s a strategy similar to one he’s used in luxury goods bearing his signature Gucci label and seven others. Rather than focusing on athletic gear targeted at serious sports enthusiasts, the French company envisions a broader universe of consumer goods and apparel that can evoke the sporting lifestyle without all the sweating.

“The sports and lifestyle segment shares common characteristics with the luxury segment, growing fast in the same regions of the world,” says Pinault from his office near the Champs Elysées. The brand-portfolio model “has been proven in the last 10 years—it was a winning choice.”

Gucci snapped up small fashion and accessories makers such as Bottega Veneta and Balenciaga a decade ago and invested in design, advertising, and retail outlets. Both companies had combined revenue of less than €65 million ($93.5 million) when PPR bought them in 2001; last year they posted sales of more than $719 million.

Source: BusinessWeek

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  1. -“In case anyone still cares, some quip from Fashionista.com… Word on the sreett, or in the Tuileries, is that French Vogue was blacklisted from Balenciaga via Max Mara. The magazine’s editor-in-chief, Carine Roitfeld, consults, or did consult, for the Italian brand. She allegedly asked Balenciaga for samples for an editorial shoot, and one of the coats ended up at Max Mara’s design studio where it was copied and then sent back to Paris.Balenciaga’s notoriously strict with their samples — almost everyone has to promise they’ll shoot the head to toe runway look and samples are usually lent out for a day at a time — and when the French label heard about Max Mara, they lost it. If fashion were a monarchy, Carine would be our queen, so we hate to think she deliberately sent Max Mara the coat, but our sources say it was no mistake. “

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