Puma, which is growing faster than rivals Nike and Adidas, is putting a big focus on the U.S. market: it relaunched basketball products in 2018, opened a new flagship store in New York and invested in a new distribution centre.
"We're pretty bullish on the opportunities here in North America and we feel like we've emerged stronger through difficult times," Bob Philion, president of Puma's North America business, told Reuters.
The Americas is Puma's fastest-growing region this year, with sales up 31% in the third quarter to account for 37% of the total, helped by a shift to more casual dressing and more people taking up sport during the pandemic.
Puma officially opened its new North America headquarters in Somerville, Massachusetts, on Thursday. It includes a roof deck, a fitness centre and a room for visiting children, bringing together 450 employees from two separate offices.
The move was in the planning for four years but was delayed by six months as Puma made changes in response to the way the pandemic has shifted working practices.
Puma increased spacing and added partitions and touchless fixtures as well as created more rooms where people can join video calls with colleagues working remotely.
"I feel very fortunate to have a new home to welcome people back. People want to collaborate again," Philion said. "What we've been lacking on Zoom calls and Teams calls is that collaboration, that energy, that creativity."
Puma hopes the new facilities and a combination of office and remote work will help the company attract staff, with Philion noting it was tough to attract workers, particularly in distribution and retail.
"It's more competitive now than it's ever been. People through COVID are making some life decisions," he said.
"Flexibility is key. At the end of the day our employees understand that we're a product marketing company. We have tangible things that we touch and feel: shoes and apparel."
Puma wants its staff to be in the office three days a week - although that will depend on teams. Meetings are only scheduled from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. to give people a chance to start earlier or later to avoid the rush hour.
"We don't want people sitting in traffic," Philion said.
(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Mark Potter)