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Nike earnings beat expectations, but shares fall

Nike (NKE) reported quarterly earnings and revenue that topped expectations, but a miss on gross margin and North American sales sent shares immediately lower during after-hours trading.

Here were the main results from Nike’s fiscal second-quarter 2020 report, compared to Bloomberg-compiled consensus estimates:

  • Revenue: $10.3 billion vs. $10.08 billion expected

  • Earnings per share: 70 cents vs. 58 cents expected

  • Gross margin: 44% vs. 44.1% expected

Shares of Nike fell 3% to $98.05 each as of 4:19 p.m. ET.

In its key North American segment, Nike sales rose 5.3% over last year to $3.98 billion. However, this fell just short of expectations for sales to reach $3.99 billion in the company’s home market. Nike brought in about 40% of overall fiscal 2019 sales from North America.

In China, Nike continued a streak of double-digit growth, with sales jumping more than 20% over last year to $1.85 billion. That beat consensus expectations by $50 million. The fast-growing geographic segment, which comprised about 16% of fiscal 2019 revenues, has become an increasingly important cornerstone of Nike’s expansion strategy, and the shoe-maker rolled out its digital app in China last quarter. During China’s Singles’ Day shopping celebration in November, Nike brought in nearly half a billion dollars in revenue, executives told analysts Thursday.

During a call with investors Thursday, Nike said it expects third-quarter and full-year revenue will each be up by high single digits. Gross margin for the third quarter is expected to be roughly flat.

SHANGHAI, CHINA - 2019/07/17: An American multinational sportswear corporation Nike logo seen in Shanghai with pedestrians walking past it. (Photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Ahead of results, analysts were mostly optimistic that Nike’s direct-to-consumer and digitally focused strategy would pay off with strong results heading into the holiday season. Over the past two years, Nike has been pushing for shoppers to purchase its athletic-wear directly from its branded stores, apps and website rather than buying these items from retailers. Nike said its digital sales rose 38% in the reported quarter, driven by its Nike-branded and SNKRS apps.

Nike announced in November that it would be ending direct sales of its apparel and shoes of Amazon (AMZN) in another move to boost its direct to consumer strategy.

"Nike delivered another strong quarter of accelerating, high-quality growth, driven by strategic and targeted investment in our digital transformation," Nike CFO Andy Campion said in a statement. "As we deliver a relentless flow of innovation and scale NIKE’s digital advantage, we are positioned for even greater competitive separation and long-term shareholder value creation."

During the quarter ending in November, Nike announced its longtime CEO Mark Parker would be stepping down, with former eBay CEO John Donahoe set to replace him in January. Parker addressed the change, which will see him shift to become Nike’s executive chairman, during a call with analysts Thursday.

“This has been a very thoughtful transition that has been planned for many months. I strongly believe the best time to make changes is from a position of strength,” Parker said. “Our brand and our business are as strong as they’ve ever been. We’re focused, we’re competitive, we’re creating a future of our own design.”

Shares of Nike hit a record high during Thursday’s session and have risen 36% for the year to date, outpacing the S&P 500’s 27.7% gain.

This post is breaking. Check back for updates.

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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