Nike orders miss estimates as competition heats up

Features Reuters

Nike Inc's future orders missed analysts' estimates for the third time in a row, as the world's largest footwear maker struggles with competition from a resurgent Adidas in North America and weakness in its basketball division.

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Shares of the company, which reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit, fell 4.4 percent to $52.90 in after-market trading on Tuesday.

The stock is the worst performer on the Dow Jones Industrial Average this year, down about 11 percent to Tuesday's close.

Nike and its Jordan brand still command the lion's share of the U.S. footwear market, but rivals Adidas and Under Armour are chipping away at the company's decades-long dominant position.

The company has been losing ground to Under Armour in the basketball category since the latter poached Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry in 2013, while Adidas has scored mostly with fashion shoes promoted by celebrities such as Kanye West. Adidas in June expanded its partnership with Kanye West, who had moved to the German sportswear maker from Nike in 2013.

In response, Nike has been offering lower-priced versions of its LeBron James and Kevin Durant basketball shoe lines but that has dented margins.

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Gross margin declined 2 percentage points to 45.5 percent in the first quarter, in part due to a higher off-price mix.

Inventories jumped 11 percent to $4.9 billion in the three months ended Aug. 31.

The company forecast worldwide orders for delivery from September 2016 through January 2017, a demand gauge the company calls "futures orders", to rise 7 percent on a constant-currency basis. The forecast ��� keenly watched by investors ��� is the lowest in five quarters.

Analysts on average had expected futures orders to rise 8 percent, according to Consensus Metrix.

Nike's net income rose 5.9 percent to $1.25 billion, or 73 cents per share, in the first quarter ended Aug. 31.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 56 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 7.7 percent to $9.06 billion, beating the average analyst estimate of $8.87 billion.

(Reporting by Abhijith Ganapavaram in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)