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BERLIN, Feb 16 (Reuters) - German sportswear firm Puma reported quarterly sales rose faster than expected but profitability disappointed and predicted currency fluctuations will continue to hurt in 2015.
Fourth-quarter sales rose 7.5 percent to 750.8 million euros ($856.89 million), beating average analyst forecast for 739 million, although it reported a net loss of of 4.6 million, compared with forecasts for a net profit of 7 million.
Puma, which has been helped by strong demand for new Arsenal shirts, predicted a mid-single-digit rise in currency-adjusted sales for 2015 and a slight increase in profits, with a significant negative impact from currencies.
Puma has been spending heavily on marketing and sponsorship deals like one with top English side Arsenal in a bid to restore its reputation as a sports performance brand after a shift into fashion hurt its core business. ($1 = 0.8762 euros) (Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Thomas Atkins)