French luxury holding company Kering, which owns Gucci, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, has gone ahead with whispered plans to spin off ownership of Puma, reducing its stake from a majority to share to just 16 percent. There were rumors in prior years that Kering wanted to sell Puma, though its growth in recent years made it less attractive to potential buyers.
While Puma as of late has seen solid growth, its stock performance has been lackluster in comparison to overall indices and it wasn’t until last year that the stock hit the price Kering originally paid for it in 2007.
While Puma is also losing Kering as a parent company, it will also be facing most of 2018 without the energy brought to the brand by Rihanna, who announced late last year that her spring 2018 presentation would be her final effort with the brand.
Puma has said it’s tapped other influencers, adding that Rihanna’s product only makes up a small percentage of sales, but let’s face it there’s only one Rih-Rih when it comes to not just design input but also the ability to influence a sale. And though Rihanna’s Fenty product may make up a small percentage of product, her connection with the brand has provided it with a huge positive marketing halo and a lot of her product ideas like the Creeper have been extended to other categories.
Corporation like to make people think that everyone is replaceable but talent like Rihanna (or Kanye West) simply are not.