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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 March 2006, 22:43 GMT
Robust sales boost Nike profits
Nike sports shoes
Sales of Nike shoes scored another strong home run
Sportswear group Nike has announced a 19% increase in third-quarter profits on the back of strong sales in its core US market.

The firm said profits rose to $325m (186m) during the period.

Robust sales of footwear and clothing offset stagnant demand in Europe and Japan, Nike said.

Total sales increased 9% to $3.6bn, compared to $3.3bn a year ago, although margins narrowed as rising fuel costs hit home.

"The strength of our product pipeline, brand portfolio and global reach is enabling us to balance continued challenges in markets such as Western Europe and Japan with strong momentum in other key markets and regions," said chief executive Mark Parker.

Nike has faced increased competition in light of a merger between Adidas-Salomon and Reebok International.

Nike is currently in the middle of a spat with Adidas. It filed a patent infringement suit against the company earlier this year claiming that a number of its rival's trainers copied its technology.

The US giant said the Adidas shoes in question infringed its "Shox cushioning" patents and has demanded damages from its German competitor.

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