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Nike Q1 Profit Tops Wall Street

Nike Inc. (NKE), the world's largest athletic shoes and apparel maker, Tuesday reported a first-quarter profit that increased from a year ago and trumped Wall Street estimates, driven largely by more-than-expected revenues and strong margins.

Beaverton, Oregon-based Nike's first-quarter profit rose to $1.09 billion or $0.67 per share from $950 million or $0.57 per share last year. On average, 30 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $0.63 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Profit for the quarter was driven largely by strong revenue growth, gross margin expansion, and selling and administrative expense leverage.

Revenues for the quarter rose 10 percent to $9.95 billion from $9.07 billion last year. Analysts had a consensus revenue estimate of $9.94 billion for the quarter.

Gross margin increased to 50 basis points to 44.2 percent, largely due to higher average selling prices, favorable full-price sales mix and margin expansion at Nike Direct.

"We are delivering stronger global growth and profitability than we anticipated entering this fiscal year," said Andy Campion, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, NIKE, Inc.

Revenues for the NIKE Brand were $9.4 billion, up 10 percent on a currency-neutral basis, driven by double-digit growth internationally and in NIKE Direct, strong momentum in North America, and growth in almost every category led by Sportswear.

Revenues for Converse were $527 million, up 7 percent on a currency-neutral basis, driven by growth in Europe and Asia.

NKE closed Thursday's trading at $84.79, up $0.52 or 0.62%, on the NYSE. The stock, however, slipped $1.78 or 2.16% in the after-hours trade.

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