Nike to Up Prices in 2012

Nike Inc. will implement price hikes across a broader range of styles starting in spring ’12, even as its third-quarter earnings fell short of analysts’ expectations.

While the firm has previously been strict with pricing, it now intends “to raise prices across a wide range of footwear and apparel styles to mitigate the overall impact of higher input costs,” Don Blair, Nike’s VP and CFO, said in a call this week with analysts.

In addition to raising prices, Blair said the firm will “continue to manage inventories carefully, while working with our suppliers to increase capacity and reduce costs.”

For the third quarter ended Feb. 28, the athletic giant earned a net income of $523 million, or $1.08 a share, up 5 percent from $497 million, or $1.01, in the same period a year ago. Revenue advanced 7 percent to $5.1 billion, led by sales growth in greater China and the emerging markets. Analysts were looking for earnings per share of $1.11 on revenue of $5.17 billion, as polled by Yahoo Finance.

At quarter’s end, futures orders for Nike brand athletic footwear and apparel, scheduled for delivery from March through July 2011, totaled $7.9 billion, representing a 9 percent growth over the same period last year, excluding currency changes.

Footwear revenue, excluding currency fluctuations, grew in every region, with greater China leading the charge, at 16 percent. Apparel revenue surged strongest in greater China and North America, while equipment sales were most robust in Japan.

As of Feb. 28, the Beaverton, Ore.-based firm had cash and cash equivalents of $2.1 billion, down 4 percent from a year earlier.

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