UPDATE 1-Puma names Rihanna as women's creative director
* Puma spending on marketing to catch up with Nike, Adidas
* Women's sportswear sales growing faster than men's
* Nike, Under Armour, Adidas all pushing into female market (Adds details, background)
By Emma Thomasson
BERLIN, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Germany's Puma named pop star Rihanna as its women's creative director on Tuesday, the latest move by a sportswear firm to tap into the booming market for female leisure gear.
Puma said in a statement that the multi-year deal starting in January would involve Rihanna becoming the face of the women's training category, joining celebrities like Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt as brand ambassador.
Puma has been spending heavily on marketing - including a kit deal with English soccer team Arsenal and a big advertising drive - as it seeks to make up ground lost in recent years to market leader Nike and German rival Adidas.
Puma Chief Executive Bjorn Gulden said finding a top name for women's training was important to complement the brand's strength in football, running and motorsport.
"Rihanna was a natural choice for us," Gulden said. "Her global profile, her charisma and individuality, her ambition, all these things make her a perfect ambassador for our brand." Continuación...