Nike Is Back in the Game — Q4 Sales Soar as US Business Rebounds

Shares for Nike Inc. are popping in after-hours trading — up nearly 6 percent to $75.82 as of 4:40 p.m. ET — after the company’s fourth-quarter results surpassed market watchers’ forecasts as the brand returned to growth in North America.

The Beaverton, Ore.-base athletic giant said its sales during the period rose 13 percent to $9.8 billion — handily topping analysts’ bets of $9.4 billion — as its previously softening U.S. business re-entered the black, and its international divisions soared double digits.

Overall, Q4 profits climbed 13 percent to $1.1 billion, or 69 cents per diluted share — beating out analysts’ bets for earnings of 64 cents per share.

Chairman, president and CEO Mark Parker cited the firm’s recent heightened focused on innovation — the firm has placed investment behind growing its direct-to-consumer business as well as enhancing its product initiatives — with boosting both domestic and international sales.

“Fueled by a complete digital transformation of our company end-to-end, this year set the foundation for Nike’s next wave of long-term sustainable growth and profitability,” Parker said.

Revenues at the Nike brand were up 9 percent to $9.3 billion, driven by double-digit increases in Nike Direct (DTC), international geographies, Sportswear, Global Football and growth in North America, where its sales were hit by significant growth at Adidas as well as the rise of streetwear brands like Supreme and Vans.

Business was challenged at Converse, however, where revenues fell 14 percent to $512 million, as growth in Asia was more than offset by declines in other territories.

For the full year, overall company sales rose 6 percent to $36.4 billion. The brand saw a 5 percent sales gain to $34.5 billion — with wholesale up 2 percent and DTC revenues up 12 percent to $10.4 billion. (DTC gains were driven by a 25 percent increase in its digital commerce sales the addition of new stores and 4 percent growth in comparable store sales.)

Full-year revenues for Converse were down 11 percent to $1.9 billion as it faced a sales slowdown in the U.S. Jordan brand’s wholesale sales fell 8 percent to $2.9 billion.

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