Nike profit rises, North American orders jump

Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:40pm EDT
 
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By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) - Nike Inc (NKE.N: Quote) on Thursday posted a higher quarterly profit and said advance orders for its clothes and shoes had jumped, particularly in North America.

Shares were up 3.2 percent to $64.30 in after-hours trading.

Orders for Nike-branded shoes and clothing scheduled for delivery between June and November 2013, a gauge of demand Nike calls "futures orders," rose 8 percent globally.

Those orders were up 12 percent in North America, by far Nike's biggest market, assuaging concerns on Wall Street that it could not keep up the pace of growth of recent quarters.

"There had been a lot of concern that North America would slow, but that hasn't happened. North America continues to show unbelievable growth," Edward Jones analyst Brian Yarbrough told Reuters.

But in China, stripping out the effect of currency fluctuations, they were flat, a disappointment after rising last quarter, when investors thought Nike's business was improving there at last. China accounts for about 11 percent of the Nike brand's sales, but 22 percent of its profit.

In China, Nike has grappled with excess inventory and intense competition from rivals cutting prices, pinching its business, and the company is trying to improve its business there.

"The reset requires discipline and patience. The race in China is a marathon, it's not a sprint," Nike Chief Executive Mark Parker told investors.   Continued...

 
Nike shoes are displayed at a Niketown store in Beverly Hills, California, March 16, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson