Nike has outperformed Wall Street’s expectations in its first-quarter profit, driven by strategic pricing adjustments on its sneakers and apparel. This success comes despite challenges like declining demand and ongoing cost pressures, resulting in an impressive 8% surge in the company’s share price during extended trading.
As the world’s largest sportswear manufacturer, Nike has forecasted a significant 100 basis point increase in second-quarter gross margins. This positive outlook follows six consecutive quarters of margin declines, attributed to reduced planned markdowns and decreased freight costs.
A notable achievement is Nike’s 10% reduction in inventories for the quarter ending on August 31. This reduction signifies Nike’s effective management of excess inventory ahead of the holiday season, alleviating concerns of substantial discounting.
Commenting on this achievement, Chief Financial Officer Matthew Friend stated, «We are capitalizing on the growing consumer interest in running and modern comfort.» Nike plans to leverage its popular sneaker series, including Air Max 1, Infinity, and V2K, to meet the surging demand for running shoes.
Additionally, Nike aims to revamp its portfolio of basketball shoes across both the Nike and Jordan brands, with a focus on style innovation. They will also emphasize their new Kobe brand.
Despite concerns about the slowing momentum of Nike’s Jordan brand, which has been a key profit driver, some shoes have seen reduced resale values on platforms like StockX.
Nike has also faced competition from other sneaker brands, including Deckers’ Hoka, On Running, and French-owned sports retailer Salomon, as shoppers increasingly prefer «performance» footwear.
Dylan Dittrich, head of research for analytics firm Altan Insights, noted that certain recent Nike running shoe releases, like the Invincible 3 and Zoom Fly 5, received mixed reviews from critics.
In response, Nike’s CEO, John Donahoe, reaffirmed the company’s commitment to «prioritizing the everyday runner» and expanding its presence in various channels, including specialty running stores.
Despite these challenges, Nike has maintained its annual forecasts and anticipates a slight increase in second-quarter revenue, aligning with the outlook of Morningstar senior equity analyst David Swartz. Nike’s demonstrated pricing power positions it favorably to avoid substantial discounting compared to competitors during the holiday season.
The company reported total revenue of $12.94 billion for the quarter, slightly below analysts’ estimates of $12.98 billion. Nike’s profit stood at $1.45 billion, equivalent to 94 cents per share, exceeding expectations of 75 cents per share.