European demand, higher margins drive Nike's profit beat

Thu Sep 25, 2014 6:48pm EDT
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By Devika Krishna Kumar

(Reuters) - Nike Inc (NKE.N: Quote), the world's largest sportswear maker, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as it gains market share in Europe and focuses on higher-margin products such as Flyknit soccer boots.

The company's shares rose 6.5 percent in extended trading,

Nike said orders for its branded shoes and clothing scheduled for delivery between September and January rose 14 percent in the first quarter, excluding the impact of currency fluctuations.

The company has been giving tough competition to Germany's Adidas AG (ADSGn.DE: Quote), which in July cut its revenue and profit targets for this year.

"When you look around the world, there really isn't much competition. Adidas is struggling, Reebok is struggling," Edward Jones analyst Brian Yarbrough told Reuters.

Nike maintained its share of the Western Europe sportswear market at about 12 percent in 2013, while Adidas's share shrank to 12.6 percent in the year from 13.2 percent in 2012, according to Euromonitor International data.

The soccer World Cup in Brazil in June-July was the first time that Nike sponsored more national teams than Adidas.

More players wore Nike boots than all other brands combined and nearly a third of those players wore Flyknit boots.   Continued...

Shoes are displayed at the Nike store in Santa Monica, California, in this file photo taken September 25, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson