Nike earnings swoosh past estimates; shares rise

Nike delivered quarterly earnings and revenue that topped analysts' expectations on Thursday. (Tweet this)

The sports apparel retailer posted fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of 98 cents per share and $7.78 billion in revenue. Wall Street had forecast that the company would report 83 cents a share on $7.69 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Shares of Nike were up more than 3 percent in extended trading.

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Revenue for the Nike Brand was up $7.4 billion, up 13 percent excluding the impact of changes in foreign currency. Nike Inc. revenue was $7.8 billion, or up 13 percent on a currency-neutral basis.

Gross margin increased 60 basis points to 46.2 percent, largely due to higher average selling prices, Nike said.

"Fiscal 2015 was an outstanding year for Nike," said CEO Mark Parker in a press release. "Our consistent growth is fueled by our connection to the consumer and our ability to deliver innovation at an unprecedented pace and scale. At no time in our history has the growth potential been greater for Nike."

A Nike logo in Beijing, China
TPG | Getty Images
A Nike logo in Beijing, China

The company also reported that as of the end of the quarter, worldwide futures orders for Nike brand products scheduled for delivery through November 2015 were 2 percent higher than in the year-earlier period, at $13.5 billion. The figure was 13 percent higher on a currency neutral basis, said Nike.

"Its strong top-line growth coupled with the ability to increase profit margins, and that's leading to some pretty explosive bottom-line growth," said Rob Plaza of Key Private Bank in an interview on Thursday with CNBC's "Closing Bell."

During its fourth quarter, Nike repurchased 6.8 million shares for about $678 million as part of a four-year, $8 billion program. As of fiscal 2015, a total of 80.9 million shares have been repurchased at an average cost of $73.55 per share.

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Inventories as of May 31 were up 10 percent, largely due to a 13 percent increase in Nike Brand wholesale unit inventories.

Earlier this month, Nike signed a new deal with the NBA. The retailer will become the official apparel provider on court for the league starting with the 2017-18 season.

Nike shares have outperformed the S&P 500 so far on the year, rising 9 percent year-to-date. The company has lagged some peer athletic apparel retailers, though, with both Under Armour and Lululemon rising more than 20 percent during the same period.

Disclosures: Neither Plaza nor his family owns shares of Nike. However, Key Bank does own 0.08 percent of Nike's outstanding shares.