Nike sales crimped by pandemic, shipping issues; forecast disappoints

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Nike store shown at outlet Mall in California

By Praveen Paramasivam and Richa Naidu

(Reuters) – Nike Inc’s quarterly sales missed estimates due to shipping issues and a pandemic-related slump at brick-and-mortar stores, and investors were disappointed by the world’s biggest athletic shoe maker’s full-year revenue forecast.

Nike forecast “low-to-mid-teens” full-year revenue growth, falling just short of the 15.9% increase in sales that analysts were expecting, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Nike shares were down about 3% in post-market trade.

“I think the expectations for Nike into the call were very high with many analysts upping revenue and earnings expectations into the quarter,” said Ivan Feinseth, head of investment at Nike shareholder Tigress Financial Partners.

Revenue rose to $10.36 billion from $10.1 billion, while analysts on average had expected $11.02 billion. The company said revenue from North America fell 11% on a currency-neutral basis because container shortages and U.S. port congestion held up inventory by more than three weeks.

“We expect to capture this delayed revenue in the fourth quarter,” Nike Chief Financial Officer Matthew Friend said.

U.S. container-freight traffic has slowed significantly in recent months due to COVID-19 outbreaks among dockworkers and safety restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of the virus. At the same time, ports are dealing with a cargo surge due to pandemic-led demand for bulk products.

Nike’s net income nonetheless climbed to $1.45 billion, or 90 cents per share, in the third quarter ended Feb. 28, from $847 million, or 53 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts were expecting earnings per share of 76 cents.

In Europe, the Middle East and the Africa region, 45% of Nike-owned stores were closed for the last two months of the quarter. Currently, 65 percent of stores in EMEA are open or operating on reduced hours, Nike said.

Rival Adidas <ADSGn.DE> said last week that it had reopened 95% of its stores after coronavirus lockdowns.

(Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru and Richa Naidu in Chicago; Editing by Dan Grebler and Peter Cooney)

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