Nike's gloomy forecast puts spotlight on North America slowdown
Published June 29, 2023
June 29 (Reuters) - Nike (NKE.N) forecast first-quarter revenue below Wall Street expectations on Thursday as cost-conscious consumers in North America cut back on sneaker and sports apparel purchases overshadowing a strong recovery in China.
In North America, the company's biggest market, still-high inflation has led to consumers buying essential goods and reducing discretionary spending.
Sales rose 5% in the region in the fourth quarter, the slowest in four quarters as U.S. wholesalers became more prudent in placing newer orders. In Europe, Middle East and Africa sales increased 3%.
The company's shares were last down about 4% in extended hours in choppy trading.
Next year, the environment is going to continue to be promotional which puts pressure on wholesale partners in terms of how they manage through the first half of the year, CEO John Donahoe said on an earnings call.
Nike's gross margin fell 140 basis points to 43.6% in the reported quarter on efforts to clear excess inventory through more promotions and discounts at a time when the industry is being squeezed by higher supply chain, input and labor costs.
"Given the customer is being quite cautious in at least two regions which are quite significant to Nike, gross margins are expected to still be hit as they continue promotions to try getting customer's attention," said Jane Hali & Associates senior analyst Jessica Ramirez.
Greater China was a bright spot as sales jumped 16% jump following the reversal of the rigid zero-COVID-19 policy. Sales in the region had declined in the first three quarters.
Nike expects first-quarter reported revenue growth to be flat to up low-single digit, compared with analysts' average expectation of 5.8% rise, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
The company expects full-year reported revenue to rise mid-single-digits, compared with analysts expectations of a revenue of a 6.3% rise.
The company's fourth-quarter revenue rose to $12.83 billion and beat estimates of $12.59 billion, while earnings per share of 66 cents missed estimates by 1 cent.