Nike ups bet on China as revenue disappoints

Nike ups bet on China as revenue disappoints
PHOTO: Reuters

Shares of Nike fell after hours Tuesday, following a mixed quarterly report where profits outpaced Wall Street's expectations despite revenue that came in shy of estimates.

The Oregon-based retailer reported earnings of 68 cents per share for the fiscal third quarter on total sales of $8.43 billion (S$11.9 billion).

Analysts were expecting Nike to report earnings of 53 cents on revenue of $8.47 billion, according to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates.

The stock fell nearly 4 per cent after the market close Tuesday, dipping below $56 per share.

Revenue for the Nike brand were $7.9 billion for the quarter, up 7 per cent on a currency-neutral basis and driven by growth in Western Europe, China and the emerging markets, along with Nike's Sportswear and Jordan Brand categories.

Competition from Under Armour and Adidas are increasingly pressuring Nike's business - particularly in the US - and price hikes haven't been enough to make up for foreign exchange headwinds and increased sales at off-brand stores, the company said.

"[Many] factors have shifted consumer patterns ... in North America, impacting traffic, the economics of brick-and-mortar retail, and it's driving a more promotional environment in the near term," Chief Executive Mark Parker said on Tuesday's earnings call.

Parker said the company is going to "double down" on its efforts in innovation, the supply chain and the Nike marketplace, to drive success over the long term.

Consumers today are responding to "simpler, more personal connections," as witnessed by an increase in sales made through the Nike mobile app this quarter, Parker said.

Moving forward, the company will adjust operations to meet changing customers' demands, respectively, CEO Parker added.

"The more directly Nike engages with the consumer, the greater the return," he said, citing recent successes of "seamless commerce" at Nike's newly opened Soho and Miami stores.

International growth outpaces that of the US

Nike's total sales are broken down into three segments: footwear, apparel and equipment.

On its earnings call Tuesday, Nike management said they were confident about the company's running and basketball businesses during the quarter.

"Running saw continued success, especially in our international markets" in the third quarter, Nike brand President Trevor Edwards said.

"In China, the opportunity [in running] is massive ... Nike and China have a long history together."

Edwards said that Nike was losing market share last year in basketball in North America, but is now "taking it back."

Excluding currency changes, revenue from Nike's North American footwear and apparel segments both rose 3 per cent for the fiscal third quarter, while sales from equipment fell 16 per cent.

Sales in footwear and apparel segments in China rose 14 and 22 per cent, respectively, excluding currency changes.

Revenue for footwear rose 8 per cent in Japan, and sales from Japan's apparel business jumped 21 per cent for the quarter.

"We have very strong momentum" in international markets, Chief Financial Officer Andrew Campion said on Tuesday's earnings call.

Meanwhile, the North America retail landscape is not in "a steady state," he said.

Nike's product supply in North America will "remain tight" over the short term, Campion explained.

Nike said it will share 2018 guidance on its next earnings call, adding that revenue will be lead by strong growth internationally.

Shares of Nike closed Tuesday down a little more than 1 per cent, hovering right above $58 per share.

Nike's stock was down more than 18 per cent in 2016, but is up more than 14 per cent through Tuesday, more than double the return of the S&P 500.

Shares of Nike hit a record high above $68 per share in 2015.

Nike year-to-date return

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