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Last Updated: Friday, 18 March, 2005, 10:17 GMT
New Nike boss brings profit rise
Sales of Nike trainers increased in emerging markets, such as China
US sportswear group Nike has posted a 36% rise in net profits in its first set of results since its co-founder Phil Knight left the company.

Net income for the three months to 28 February came in at $273.4m (142.53m), up from $200.3m a year ago.

Sales rose 14% to $3.3bn, up from $2.9bn in the same period last year, the firm announced.

The company reaped the benefit of other brands it owns, like Converse, but also saw strong growth in its core products.

Diversifying

"This was our sixth consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue and earnings per share growth," Nike's new president and chief executive William D Perez said.

We have to make sure that our portfolio of brands is accessible to consumers in all channels of distribution, in all geographies and is appropriately targeted at the most attractive demographic groups
William D Perez, Nike chief

"While the core Nike Brand fuelled the majority of our growth, Nike Golf, Converse and Cole Haan were also major contributors to our positive results."

Having other brands enables the company to offer lower prices without driving down margins on its expensive Nike trainers. It will, for example, be selling Starter-branded trainers for $40 in 400 Wal-Mart stores next week.

However, it faces strong competition from Adidas in Japan, and may have lost some business in France and Germany due to anti-American attitudes among consumers.

Mr Perez, who has been at the company for two months, said he would be putting more emphasis on distribution.

"We have to make sure that our portfolio of brands is accessible to consumers in all channels of distribution, in all geographies and is appropriately targeted at the most attractive demographic groups."

"It is certainly one of the major reasons I am here," said Mr Perez, who was previously president and chief executive of household products company SC Johnson & Son.

The company said its forward orders were 9.6% higher than in the same period a year ago.




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