Nike shares fall after North American sales growth disappoints

Earnings

Nike is set to report fiscal third-quarter earnings after the bell on Thursday.

Here’s what analysts are expecting, based on a poll by Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share, adjusted: 65 cents
  • Revenue: $9.61 billion

Hoping to keep building momentum for its brand, Nike’s focus has shifted from its wholesale partners to now selling as much as it can directly to consumers, through its own stores and website. That’s evidenced by Nike’s recent store openings, which include a high-tech flagship location in New York on Fifth Avenue, and a new smaller-format store it’s testing in Los Angeles. Nike’s online business, meanwhile, has been strong as long as the company has innovated with new products — like the Air Max 720 and the Epic React Flyknit 2 — and exclusive launches that drive traffic to the website.

Looking for pockets of growth, Nike has said it plans to invest more in apparel and women’s products in the future. For women, it’s launching more items like yoga pants and sports bras in expanded sizes. Overall, most of Nike’s sales growth continues to come from overseas, in markets like China, as North America remains saturated with competition from the likes of Adidas, Under Armour and Vans.

Nike is expected to have benefited as rival sneaker maker Adidas’ North American sales growth has decelerated. Adidas has said it will face “supply chain shortages” in 2019.

“We foresee continued share erosion [at Adidas] due to Nike’s superior product platform,” Jefferies analyst Randal Konik said.

Nike was, meanwhile, caught up in controversy recently when Duke University star basketball player Zion Williamson blew through his Nike sneakers during a basketball game and sprained his knee. Nike shares fell following the debacle. The company responded by sending a team of sneaker designers to Duke in North Carolina, and then to China, to make a new shoe for Williamson, who has since returned to playing basketball after having to sit out some games with his injury.

Nike shares are up more than 30 percent over the past 12 months, to trade around $87.60. The stock has climbed nearly 18 percent just this year.

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