Nike Q4 Income, Sales Beat Expectations

Beaverton, OR—Nike reported Monday better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings as sales increases made up for higher costs.

For the quarter ended May 31, Nike said incomes rose 14% to $594 million, or $1.24 a share, up from $522 million, or $1.06 a share, a year earlier.

Revenue also climbed 14% to $5.8 billion. Both results exceeded analysts’ average estimate expected only earnings of $1.16 on sales of $5.53 billion.

“In fiscal year 2011, we delivered exceptional results in extraordinary times,” Mark Parker said. “We continue to deliver compelling innovation to athletes and consumers, and strong returns for our shareholders. The global appetite for sports has never been stronger.”

North America Revenues Rise 22%

Nike said anticipated brands orders jumped 15% to $10.3 billion, or 12% excluding currency changes. Orders were even stronger in Greater China, where they surged 24%, and emerging markets, where they leaped 25%. Reported futures orders declined 13% in Japan, the only region to report a decrease.

Nike brand revenues in North America increased 22% to $2.1 billion with a 1-percentage point benefit from changes in currency exchange rates. On a constant currency basis, revenues were up in all key categories except football (soccer); the strongest growth came from Running, Men’s Training, Sportswear, Basketball and Women’s Training, which were all up at a double-digit rate for the quarter.

Footwear and apparel revenues, up 20% and 28%, respectively, were driven by strong category presentations, improved product lines and earlier shipments of summer season product, the company said.

One negative in the quarter was inventories, which were up 33%, retail analysts said.

“We believe most companies are still rebuilding inventories post recession and using inventory and shipping to manage margins, but we also think that before the recession most vendors, including Nike, had too much inventory,” said analyst Paul Swinand of Morningstar.

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