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Retro sneakers have helped put a spring in the step at Puma, with shares in the German sportswear company rising almost 3 per cent after it reported a 7 per cent increase in sales for 2016.

The company, which sponsors Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and the singer Rihanna, reported sales of €3.6bn with growth “across all regions and product segments”.

Footwear was the main driver, with its “creeper” retro sneaker designed as part of Rihanna’s Fenty fashion range helping to lift footwear sales 8 per cent to 1.6bn.

Operating profit at €127.6m was ahead of guidance given in November when it said it expected a range of €115m to €125m.

Bjorn Gulden, who has been working to close the gap with Nike and Adidas since being made chief executive by majority owner Kering in 2013, said Puma was “confident we will continue to see revenue growth and a significant increase in earnings again in 2017″.

The company said the Fenty Puma was “repeatedly sold out worldwide” and had demonstrated “it is currently the hottest piece of footwear around”.

Shares rose as much as 2.8 per cent on Thursday morning, though at publication time had pulled back to only a 0.6 per cent gain, to €276.

Sportswear retailers have avoided some of the difficulties facing the rest of the fashion retail industry in recent years as they benefit from for “athleisure” wear, though disappointing results from Under Armour last month raised concerns that the boom may be nearing an end.

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