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Nike shakes off pandemic blues with surging online sales

September 22, 2020 GMT
FILE - In this file photo dated Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, a Nike company logo is displayed outside a Nike store in Charlotte, N.C. Nike appears to have recovered from its pandemic slump, posting a solid quarterly profit driven by soaring online sales of its sneakers and workout apparel. The world's largest sports apparel maker on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020 reported a net profit of $1.5 billion profit, or 95 cents per share, in the three-month period ending Aug. 31, up 11% from the same 2019 quarter. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, file)
FILE - In this file photo dated Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, a Nike company logo is displayed outside a Nike store in Charlotte, N.C. Nike appears to have recovered from its pandemic slump, posting a solid quarterly profit driven by soaring online sales of its sneakers and workout apparel. The world's largest sports apparel maker on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020 reported a net profit of $1.5 billion profit, or 95 cents per share, in the three-month period ending Aug. 31, up 11% from the same 2019 quarter. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, file)

NEW YORK (AP) — Nike appears to have recovered from its pandemic slump, posting a solid quarterly profit driven by soaring online sales of its sneakers and workout apparel.

The world’s largest sports apparel maker on Tuesday reported a net profit of $1.5 billion profit, or 95 cents per share, in the three-month period ending Aug. 31, up 11% from the same 2019 quarter.

That was well ahead of Wall Street analysts’ expectations of 47 cents a share, according to FactSet. Nike’s stock surged 13% in after-hours trading following the release of the results.

In previous quarter that ended May 31, the Beaverton, Oregon-based company reported an unexpected loss, with its revenue falling 38% after digital sales failed to make up for losses in physical stores shuttered to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

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But analysts had predicted a rebound because Nike has been popular with online shoppers.

In the latest quarter, Nike’s digital sales rose 82%, helping offset declines in its wholesale business and Nike-owned stores.

Revenue in the fiscal first quarter held steady at $10.6 billion, a 1% decline from the previous year. Sales in China rose 6% while North America sales fell 2%.

Analysts had expected revenue of $9.2 billion.

Most of Nike’s stores are now open worldwide but sales continue to be slow because of lower customer traffic and safety measures related to COVID-19, the company said. Shipping costs and promotions aimed at reducing inventory continued to eat at margins but order cancellations fell.

Nike has stepped up its direct-to-consumer online strategy amid the pandemic, leveraging its workout app to drive digital sales. Online sales now make up at least 30% of its revenue, a goal the company had set for 2023.