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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Nike’s Struggles Deepen With Weak Quarterly Earnings

  • Sluggish sales numbers drive shares further downward for the sports apparel and footwear giant.
  • The company’s performance contrasts against signs of recovery seen elsewhere in the category.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

An already embattled Nike delivered more bad news late Thursday, reporting a meager set of earnings that gave no confidence of a broad turnaround soon arriving for the sports apparel and footwear giant.

The company said it generated $12.6 billion in revenue for its fiscal fourth quarter, down 2% from the comparable period a year ago and below analyst expectations, and $51.4 billion for the full year, up 1%. The figures represent Nike’s weakest sales growth in more than 20 years, excluding the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2008–09 financial crisis.

Net income was much more positive, earnings rising 45% in the quarter to $1.5 billion, and by 12% over the full year to $5.7 billion. Still, the figures represented the latest hit for the company that in the past six months has grappled with:

  • An embarrassing reversal soon after a high-profile debacle with its rollout of newly designed MLB uniforms  
  • A continuation of a three-year, $2 billion cost-cutting program that has included multiple rounds of layoffs. Those cost reductions contributed to the better earnings results 
  • A perceived retreat by the brand in the running community, a market segment that formed the base of Nike’s origins more than five decades ago

The near-term prognosis is not encouraging either, as the company adjusted its fiscal 2025 outlook to project a sales decline of roughly 4-6% instead of a prior expectation of a gain during the year. The current quarter is expected to post a 10% drop.

“We are taking our near-term challenges head-on, while making continued progress in the areas that matter most to Nike’s future,” said John Donahoe, company president and CEO. 

Investor reaction was swift as Nike shares fell by more than 11% in post-market trading on Thursday. Nike stock has already fallen by nearly 12% this year. 

Contrasting Trends

Nike’s continued issues contrast sharply against a resurgence elsewhere in the category involving companies such as Foot Locker, Adidas, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. 

“While we are encouraged by our progress, our fourth-quarter results highlighted challenges,” said Matthew Friend, Nike executive vice president and chief financial officer. “We are taking actions to reposition Nike to be more competitive, and to drive sustainable, profitable long-term growth.”

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