Nike raises revenue forecast for namesake brand

By Alistair Barr

Shares leaped $8.60 or 10.5 percent to $90.21 during afternoon trading on Tuesday.

The company has a target of $23 billion in annual revenue from its main Nike brand by 2015, according to Charlie Denson, president of Nike brand. Denson said on Tuesday that the company is on course to generate $24 billion to $25 billion in annual revenue by that year.

Denson also said Nike brand has "strong momentum" across all its categories for 2012.

China and Brazil are two of Nike's best opportunities for growth in coming years, Denson added.

Nike's Greater China business topped $2 billion in annual revenue for the first time recently, double the level of 2007, Denson noted.

"We plan on doubling it again over the next couple of years," Denson said.

Apparel makers, including Nike, are struggling with higher material, labor and freight costs. However, Denson suggested on Tuesday that Nike will be able to raise prices to offset this trend.

"We are operating from a position of strength," Denson said. "We will not compromise our long-standing commitment to overall profitability."

(Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)