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Tepid Nike outlook dents shares as it touts Olympic offerings

Shares of Nike tumbled after the company offered a tepid near-term sales outlook (JUSTIN SULLIVAN)
Shares of Nike tumbled after the company offered a tepid near-term sales outlook (JUSTIN SULLIVAN)

Shares of Nike tumbled Thursday after the sports giant signaled a tepid near-term revenue outlook even as it promised to wow consumers with new offerings in an Olympic year.

The sports giant, which has been criticized by some Wall Street analysts over a lack of hot new products in recent times, reported flat quarterly sales and profits that were slightly lower than the year-ago period, but which topped analysts expectations.

Shares initially rallied on the results, which came only hours after the German football team picked Nike over Adidas in a win highlighted by the CEO on a conference call.

But Nike stock went steeply negative after Chief Financial Officer Matthew Friend projected only one percent revenues growth in the upcoming quarter, its fiscal fourth quarter.


Friend also forecast a revenue drop in the "low single digits" in the first half of the next fiscal year, in part reflecting "the subdued macro outlook around the world," he said.

Profits in the quarter ending February 29 came in at $1.2 billion, down five percent from the year ago period. Revenues were $12.4 billion, essentially level with the year-ago stretch.

The results were dented by about $400 million in one-time severance costs after job cuts, said Friend, who cautioned that near-term performance would be negatively affected by "transition" impacts as it phases out some older items in favor of new offerings.

Following criticism from some analysts, Chief Executive John Donahoe emphasized recent senior appointments at the company as part of an effort to "sharpen our focus on sport."

Donahoe promised "major advancements" in the coming month centering on its "Air" footwear brand in football, basketball, track and other sports.

"We're acting with urgency as we make the adjustments needed to win," Donahoe said on a conference call with analysts as he touted Nike's selection by German footballers over Adidas after a decades-long partnership with the German brand.

"Our ability to tell stories shown through to make the German team a global brand and make their athletes global heroes," said Donahoe, who said the company was "deeply honored and privileged" by the win in Germany.

Shares of Nike slumped 6.5 percent in after-hours trading.