Nike Inc (NKE) Beats Earnings Expectations

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Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) released the earnings results from its third fiscal quarter after closing bell today, posting earnings of 76 cents per share—a 4% increase—on revenue of $7 billion, which was a 13% increase. Analysts had been expecting the company to post earnings of 72 cents per share on revenue of $6.69 billion.

Breaking down Nike’s results

The athletic clothing and equipment maker reported that revenue rose 4% in spite of negative impacts from foreign exchange rates because of strong demands for Nike branded products, expansion in gross margins, lower tax rates and a slightly lower average share count.

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Revenues for the NIKE brand were $6.6 billion, a 14% increase on a currency neutral basis. Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) said it saw growth in all geographies and key categories. Revenues for the Converse brand were $420 million, a 16% increase on a currency neutral basis. The company cited key drivers as strong performance in the U.S., the U.K. and China, its biggest direct distribution markets.

Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE)’s gross margins expanded 30 basis points to 44.5% during the quarter, benefiting from higher average selling prices and continued growth in the direct to consumer business, which has higher margins. Selling and administrative expenses rose 16% to $2.2 billion in the quarter, including $733 million in demand creation expenses. Other net expenses were $45 million, made up mostly of losses from foreign exchange rates. The company’s effective tax rate was 22.4%. Net income rose 3% to $685 million.

Nike updates balance sheet numbers, share repurchase program

Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) reported that inventories were at $3.8 billion, a 12% increase from the end of February 2013. The company’s Nike Brand wholesale inventories rose 7% in support of future demand. Cash and short-term investments amounted to $5 billion, an increase of $987 million. Nike also reported that worldwide futures orders for the NIKE brad footwear and apparel scheduled for delivery between March and July were $10.9 billion, a 12% increase compared to the same time frame last year.

During the quarter, Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) bought back 10.4 million shares for about $788 million. That’s part of the company’s four-year $8 billion share repurchase program, which was adopted by the board of directors in September 2012.