Nike Profit Tops Estimates as New Products Help Sales

Nike Inc., the world’s largest sporting-goods company, posted second-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates as higher-priced shoes boosted sales.

Net income in the three months through November rose 40 percent to $537 million, or 59 cents a share, from $384 million, or 42 cents, a year earlier, the Beaverton, Oregon-based company said yesterday in a statement after the market closed. Profit excluding some items was 59 cents a share. The average of 24 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg was 58 cents.

Chief Executive Officer Mark Parker has been introducing premium products that sell for higher prices, such as $160 Flyknit running shoes and $225 Hypervenom soccer cleats, while bolstering the company’s online business. Nike’s gross margin, the percentage of sales left after subtracting the cost of goods sold, expanded 1.4 percentage points to 43.9 percent.

“I’m a real bull on this Flyknit technology” that allows customization, said Paul Swinand, an analyst at Morningstar Inc. in Chicago. “That is the next wave of innovation and it’s in its infancy right now. They’re the leader, they’ve got the technology.”

Nike fell 1.6 percent to $77.02 at 9:47 a.m. in New York. The shares gained 52 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 27 percent increase for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Sales rose 8 percent to $6.43 billion. Analysts projected $6.44 billion, on average.

Orders for the Nike brand from December to April rose 13 percent, excluding the effects of foreign-currency exchange-rate fluctuations. Analysts estimated a 9.6 percent gain, on average.

Next year’s Olympics and World Cup are helping future orders and gross margin, Swinand said.

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