Nike Sales Just Didn’t Do It in Third Quarter

Revenue missed analysts' estimates but CEO Mark Parker believes the shift to online shopping "represents a tremendous opportunity for Nike."
Matthew HellerMarch 23, 2017
Nike Sales Just Didn’t Do It in Third Quarter

Nike shares fell more than 7% on Wednesday after the retailer reported lower-than-expected quarterly sales and indicated it is expecting a 4% decline in futures orders, a barometer of sales growth.

Nike’s third-quarter revenue grew just 5% to $8.43 billion, missing analysts’ estimates of $8.47 billion. Earnings rose 24% to 68 cents per share year over year, beating the estimate of 52 cents.

As Forbes reports, “Competition has heated up from retailers like Adidas and Under Armour and dampened [Nike’s] sales growth in the U.S. During the quarter, sales ticked up just 3% in North America, a region that remains its biggest market and accounts for roughly half its business.”

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Nike CEO Mark Parker said the company had “delivered another solid quarter of growth and profitability.”

“To expand our leadership and ignite Nike’s next phase of growth, we’re delivering a relentless flow of innovation, through performance and style, increasing speed throughout the business and creating more direct connections with consumers, leveraging digital and membership.”

The Nike brand’s direct-to-consumer revenues improved 13% in the quarter, reflecting robust online sales growth, 6% comparable store sales growth, and the expansion of new stores.

But the company said the brand’s futures orders declined 4% on a reported basis and were down 1% on a currency-neutral basis. Futures orders, a metric unique to Nike, estimate the merchandise that the company has committed to delivering to retailers over the next six months.

“This is Nike’s third consecutive decline in North American futures and its worst decline in over seven years,” Cowen & Co. analyst John Kernan noted.

Brick-and-mortar retailers as a whole are facing a tough environment amid the shift to online shopping. But Parker said the “current backdrop represents a tremendous opportunity for Nike, because the brands that win are going to be the ones that have an out-in-front with digital and lead with service.”

“While we don’t expect this transition to be simple, we are clear about what it will take to get there,” he said on an earnings call.

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