Nike crushes earnings expectations, helped by strong online sales, shares surge

Key Points
  • Nike reported quarterly earnings and revenue on Thursday that beat analysts' expectations.
  • Shares of the company were up 8 percent in premarket trading.
  • Nike said revenue grew in nearly every category, with footwear and apparel seeing growth in the double digits globally.
Nike reports strong earnings off sneaker sales
Nike reports strong earnings off sneaker sales

Nike shares are up 8 percent in premarket trading Friday, after the athletic apparel company turned in quarterly earnings and revenue that beat analysts' expectations with the help of strong global sales and improvements to its digital business.

Although there had been concerns early in the quarter that a controversial ad campaign could dampen sales, there weren't any signs of that in the results, which were released late Thursday.

Executives also said they weren't seeing any impact from friction on trade between the U.S. and China. Wedbush analysts recently estimated that the percentage of goods Nike sources from China is in the mid-20s.

Here's what the company reported compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: 52 cents vs. 46 cents expected
  • Revenue: $9.37 billion vs. $9.18 billion expected

Nike said revenue grew in nearly every category, with footwear and apparel seeing growth in the double digits globally. Digital sales led growth across both the Nike and Converse brands.

The Jordan brand, which includes both footwear and apparel, saw sales return to growth during the quarter. Fresh designs and collaborations drove that growth for the iconic franchise, the company said.

"This quarter you could see momentum swing in the conversation around retail," CEO Mark Parker said on a conference call with analysts. "We saw it over the Thanksgiving shopping week, fueling more than 30 percent increase in our digital business in North America for the quarter."

In China, Nike didn't notice any economic slowdown during Singles' Day, the country's biggest day for online shopping, which takes place on Nov. 11. Sales broke records and increased by 40 percent from last year.

Nike said fiscal second-quarter net income rose 10 percent to $847 million, or 52 cents per share, from $767 million, or 46 cents per share, a year earlier. The results topped estimates of 46 cents per share from analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

Nike said its profits were helped by higher average prices, which boosted its gross margins.

Net sales increased by 10 percent to $9.37 billion, topping expectations of $9.18 billion. Adjusting for currency fluctuations, revenue increased by 14 percent to $8.9 billion.

"While FX headwinds have intensified, we now expect stronger currency neutral revenue growth in 2019 than planned," CFO Andy Campion said on the conference call.

In North America, Nike's biggest market, sales rose 9 percent to $3.78 billion. Sales climbed 8 percent in Europe, Middle East & Africa to $2.31 billion. China posted Nike's most robust growth, with sales climbing 26 percent to $1.54 billion. Its Asia Pacific & Latin America division rose 2 percent to $1.3 billion.

The company made no mention of its ad campaign starring Colin Kaepernick in its earning release, but it appears that the controversy did not negatively affect sales. The former NFL player made headlines as a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers for protesting police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem. Nike unveiled the ad on Labor Day to commemorate the 30th anniversary of its "Just Do It" campaign, and was immediately met with criticism. Some customers went on social media and burned their Nike shoes, vowing not to shop the brand again.

Up only 8 percent so far this year, Nike's stock is under-performing relative to rivals Under Armour and Lululemon, but its $110.5 billion market value dwarfs those of its competitors.

How Nike turns controversy into dollars
How Nike turns controversy into dollars