Nike Rides Continued Momentum, but Lowers Guidance Amid Supply Chain Uncertainties

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Nike’s momentum continues.

The Beaverton, Ore.-based athletic apparel and accessories firm, which includes the Jordan and Converse brands, revealed quarterly earnings Thursday after the market closed, improving on top-line revenues in all geographies thanks to strength in every channel and a return to organized sporting events.

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Nike’s strong results this quarter are continued proof of our deep consumer connections, unrelenting innovation pipeline and a digital advantage that fuels our brand momentum,” John Donahoe, Nike’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We have the right playbook to navigate macroeconomic dynamics, as we create value through our relentless drive to fuel the future of sport.”

For the three-month period ending Aug. 31, increased 16 percent to $12.2 billion, up from $10.5 billion last year.

Nike’s direct-to-consumer business rose 28 percent during the quarter, year-over-year, to $4.7 billion, thanks to strength in Nike’s brick-and-mortar retail fleet, which exceeded pre-pandemic levels. Digital sales also increased during the quarter, up 29 percent. The North American digital business rose the most ​​— 43 percent during the quarter — compared with fiscal year 2021’s first quarter.

Donahoe told analysts on the Thursday evening conference call that the firm expects the majority of its revenue growth to come from digital sales in fiscal 2022, but added that the company will continue to invest in brick-and-mortar retail.

“Online to offline is becoming second nature,” he said, referring to the halo effect e-commerce creates in local communities. (One example are the two new small-format digital-centric stores Nike opened in Boston in August.)

The company logged $1.87 billion as a result, compared with $1.5 billion the same time last year.

“The changes happening in the market are happening in our favor,” Donahoe said on the call. “Consumer shifts to digital that might have taken five years are now only taking two.”

By category, the biggest revenue gains were in footwear, followed by apparel and then equipment.

Donahoe added that growth opportunities include children’s, women’s apparel, such as sports bras and yoga (Nike nearly quadrupled its yoga business in the last two years) and sustainability.

“Consumers are clearly responding to sustainability,” the CEO said. “We’re seeing strong full-price sell-throughs [in sustainable products].”

Nike teamed up with singer, songwriter Billie Eilish for two styles of sustainable Air Jordan sneakers that will launch later this month. The retailer also launched the first Serena Williams Design Crew collection earlier this month.

But investors were not satisfied. Shares fell more than 3 percent during Thursday’s after-hours trading after failing to meet analysts’ expectations and continued issues caused by the pandemic.

Donahoe acknowledged some headwinds, what he called “macro volatility,” as the company continues to “navigate through current supply chain issues.

“We’ll focus on what we can control,” he said. “Nike is doing what it always does: playing the offense.”

Still, Nike revised its full-year revenue outlook down as a result. The company now expects revenues to be in the midsingle digits, versus the prior estimates of low-double digits.

“Solely because of factory production closures,” Matt Friend, executive vice president and chief financial officer at Nike, said on the call. “In the last 90 days, already long transit times worsened. Transit times have been increasing, nearly doubling, because of port congestion, rail congestion, supply shortages and labor shortages. Lost weeks of production and longer transit times will lead to short-term inventory issues over the next few quarters.

“And then in addition to that, there’s Vietnam,” Friend continued. “That means we’ve already lost 10 weeks of production. This has created a gap to the flow of inventory, originally intended to ship in October. It’s going to take us several months to ramp back up to production.”

Friend added that all geographies will likely be impacted by inventory shortages, but added, “These supply chain issues, we believe, are temporary.”

The company ended the quarter with $9.4 billion in long-term debt and $13.7 billion in cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments.

Shares of Nike, which closed up 1.33 percent to $159.54 Thursday, are up nearly 28 percent, year-over-year.

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