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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 December 2005, 23:01 GMT
Nike posts record second quarter
Nike sports shoes
Sales of Nike shoes scored a strong home run
US sportswear group Nike has announced a 15% rise in profits, a record for its second quarter, beating Wall Street analysts' estimates.

The firm, which also owns the Nike Golf and Converse brands, said profits rose to $301m (171m) on strong sales in the US of its upmarket athletic footwear.

Growth was also buoyant in China and Latin America, but sales slowed in Europe and Japan.

Future orders rose 2.5% compared with the same quarter last year, to $5.2bn.

However, this figure did not match forecasts.

"Future growth looks a little less robust than analysts had been expecting," said analyst Jamelah Leddy at McAdams Wright Ragen.

Competition builds

Nike is facing increased competition in light of a pending merger between Adidas-Salomon and Reebok International.

However, on domestic turf the Oregon-based firm has benefited from large retailers such as Foot Locker reallocating shelf space away from rival Reebok's products in favour of Nike Air Force 1 footwear and Puma's European-style shoes.

Additionally, Nike's expansion beyond traditional athletic shoe stores into general merchandise chains and sporting goods stores has helped boost US sales, the company said.

Chief executive William Perez said: "Strength in the US, China and Latin America [balanced] more challenging results in Western Europe and Japan."

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