Nike Surges to Record High After World Cup Fuels Sales

Nike Inc., the world’s largest sporting-goods maker, surged to a record high after its FIFA World Cup marketing campaign fueled profit and sales.

First-quarter net income rose 23 percent to $962 million, or $1.09 a share, from $779 million, or 86 cents, a year earlier, the Beaverton, Oregon-based company said yesterday in a statement. The average of 25 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg was 88 cents.

The World Cup, the world’s most-watched sporting event, took place in Brazil during the quarter, boosting interest in Nike’s soccer gear and apparel. U.S. consumers also have been buying more athletic apparel and footwear for everyday use, not just when working out or playing sports.

“The results across the board are extremely impressive,” Brian Yarbrough, an analyst with Edward Jones & Co. in St. Louis, said in an interview. While the World Cup helped, “it’s more than that. The product is resonating with consumers. They are dominating and keep taking market share.”

The shares rose 12 percent to $89.50 at the close in New York, reaching a new high. Nike has gained 14 percent this year through today, compared with a 7.3 percent increase for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Orders Surge

Orders for the Nike brand for delivery from September through January rose 14 percent, excluding the effects of foreign-currency exchange-rate fluctuations. Analysts estimated a gain of 10 percent gain, on average, according to Consensus Metrix, a researcher owned by Wayne, New Jersey-based Kaul Advisory Group. The measure is closely watched because investors view it as a proxy for future sales.

In North America, Nike’s largest market, orders rose 15 percent, topping an estimate of 9.8 percent.

Earnings per share will advance about 20 percent this year, the company said on a conference call to discuss the results. Analysts had projected a gain of about 14 percent.

Total sales rose 15 percent to $7.98 billion in the first quarter, which ended Aug. 31. That surpassed analysts’ projections for $7.78 billion. While rival Adidas AG was the official sponsor of the World Cup, Nike spent heavily on its own campaign and building buzz for its gear, boosting marketing by 23 percent.

Nike now has the largest market share of revenue from cleats in the world’s nine largest soccer markets, the company said.

China Growth

Revenue in Nike’s Greater China unit increased 18 percent to $679 million. The company had been struggling to maintain growth there, its second-largest market, as shoppers became choosier about which brands they buy. Futures orders in the unit advanced 6 percent, trailing analysts’ projections for a 6.5 percent gain.

Adidas, the world’s second-largest sporting-goods maker, cut its annual profit forecast last month amid slumping demand for golf equipment and an increase in production and marketing costs. The company’s sales in the quarter ended June 30 rose 2.4 percent.

Nike backed away from a high-profile endorsement this month when it suspended a contract with Adrian Peterson, a National Football League running back who is charged with abusing his 4-year-old son. Peterson is one of several NFL players confronting domestic-violence allegations. Nike didn’t discuss the situation yesterday, other than saying that NFL jerseys continue to sell well.

“We certainly see good growth in our NFL business,” Trevor Edwards, president of the Nike brand, said during the conference call.

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