Rihanna is a force for footwear sales, according to Puma.
Puma isn’t really considered a major player within the sneaker industry. People definitely wear Pumas, but they can’t touch Nike or Adidas in terms of cultural clout. However, they might be well on their way to changing that with a few well chosen celebrity associations.
After naming Rihanna creative director for its women’s line last year, Bloomberg Business is reporting that Puma beat their average fourth quarter financial projections by a whopping $34.5 million. There’s no reason to think Rihanna’s sold out collection of “Creeper” and “Eskiva” sneakers weren’t a huge reason for that, and Puma’s CEO agrees. “She can sell sneakers and Puma is onto something here which we haven’t seen yet in the women’s area,” German company’s CEO Bjorn Gulden state at a press conference.
Non-athlete sponsorships are becoming increasingly popular for shoe brands, between Adidas’ already successful collaboration with Kanye West and Nike’s gambit giving Kevin Hart a signature sneaker. No doubt the success of Puma’s collaboration with Rihanna helped convince the company to pull the trigger on its new deal with Kylie Jenner, much to Kanye’s chagrin.
Puma has a full "Fenty by Rihanna" collection on the way for 2016. Check out a few photos from the New York Fashion Week show above.