Consumer Products

Nike Erases Memory of Prior Quarter Loss with Blowout Q1 Earnings

Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) reported fiscal first-quarter 2021 results after markets closed Tuesday. The sports apparel and gear maker reported quarterly diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.95 on revenue of $10.6 billion. In the same period a year ago, Nike reported EPS of $0.86 on revenue of $10.7 billion. First-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.47 and $9.14 billion in revenue.

In its fourth fiscal quarter ended in May, Nike reported a diluted loss per share of $0.51 following the eight-week closure of 90% of the company’s own stores due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company’s direct sales rose by 12% to $3.7 billion, roughly 35% of Nike’s total revenue for the quarter. Digital sales increased by 82% with double-digit increases in North America, Greater China, and Asia Pacific/Latin America. Digital sales tripled in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Year over year, revenue was down 1% and SG&A expenses were down 11%. Gross margin slipped by 0.9% as the company whittled away at inventory and paid higher supply chain costs.

CEO John Donahoe commented, “In this dynamic environment, no one can match our pace of launching innovative product and our Brand’s deep connection to consumers. These strengths, coupled with our digital acceleration, are unlocking NIKE’s long-term market potential.”

Donahoe has been singing from that hymnal for several quarters now and the story gets more believable upon every new hearing. In the conference call following the company’s prior-quarter earnings release, the company’s CFO said that Nike’s total digital revenue nearly amounted to 30% of the company’s total fourth-quarter revenue. The first quarter’s digital total has almost certainly passed 30%, a level the company did not expect to reach until its 2023 fiscal year.

Nike stock closed Tuesday up about 3% for the day and shares have added more than 8.5% in after-hours trading, reaching $126.90, well above the 52-week high of $120.48. The 52-week low is $60.00.

Over the past seven days, 9 of 10 analysts have raised their price targets on Nike stock. Only one of those 10 firms lowered its rating (from Positive to Neutral) but it, too, raised its price target. The average of those 10 calls is $131 compared to a consensus price target of $112.58 from 32 analyst firms.