Puma aims to "position itself to global consumers as the 'fastest sportswear brand in the world,' but that ambition was not reflected in sales for the fourth quarter, which fell more than expected," according to Alice Ross of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The sponsor of sprinter Usain Bolt admitted that it had "a lack of brand heat." Total sales for the last three months of '13 fell more than 13% to €698M. Adjusted for "currency effects," the dip was 4.7% from the same quarter of '12. Puma CEO Björn Gulden said that '13 had been a "challenging year." Gulden: "There is no doubt that we have issues in terms of lack of brand heat, commercial products and desirable distribution." Gulden said that Puma was still a "great brand." The company is hoping that "recent high-profile sponsorships," including with Bolt and EPL Arsenal, will help "entice consumers back to its products." Puma, which is 84% owned by French luxury group Kering, closed 73 retail stores last year, with a "further 18 to be closed in 2014." But it plans to open "new outlets in emerging markets where it sees a high potential for growth" (FT, 2/20).