INTERVIEW-Puma seeks to source goods closer to Western consumers
* Brands looking to improve speed, flexibility of sourcing
* Puma will not abandon Cambodia, Bangladesh despite problems
* Adidas, H&M also looking to diversify sourcing
* Technology like 3D printing may make Puma less driven by labour costs
By Emma Thomasson
HERZOGENAURACH, Germany, Feb 20 (Reuters) - German sportswear firm Puma SE is looking to produce more goods closer to customers in Europe and the Americas, but will not abandon Asia in the next few years despite rising labour costs and political unrest, its chief executive said.
Puma, which has 178 suppliers in 32 countries, sources 79 percent of its goods from Asia, mostly from China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia - the latter where a violent crackdown on garment workers striking over pay has disrupted production at its suppliers.
CEO Bjoern Gulden expressed frustration that industry lead times are so long, with ranges being designed now only going on sale in autumn 2015.
Puma is looking into producing more goods closer to consumers to be more responsive to demand, including in Turkey and eastern Europe, and in Mexico to serve the Americas, he said, without giving further details. Over 70 percent of the firm's sales were in Europe and the Americas last year. Continuación...