The company's focus on key cities paid off particularly in Europe, where the growth was led by sportswear, Jordan and digital sales. The management claimed that Nike is now rated as the No. 1 brand in five of region's key cities.
Digital sales grew by more than 60 percent in Greater China and in Asia-Pacific and Latin America during the quarter. In the latter region, Japan and Korea grew the most. In preparation for next year's Olympic Games, Nike became the No. 1 running brand in Japan.
For the first nine months of the year, the group booked a 14 percent increase in pre-tax income to $3.55 billion on 9 percent higher revenues of $28.9 billion, up by 11 percent in local currencies. Footwear and apparel rose at relatively balanced currency-neutral rates of 13 and 12 percent, respectively, while equipment inched up by 2 percent.
Looking ahead, the management is projecting an increase in the high single digits for the fourth quarter ending on May 31 in constant currencies, but with a foreign currency headwind of about six percentage points. Exceeding the goals set for the full financial year, the gross margin may move up by about 0.75 percentage points in spite of higher costs for cotton and labor. A similar momentum is expected for the next financial year.
Responding to a question, the management said that Nike is not interested in getting directly involved in the booming sneaker resale market. It expressed satisfaction that its products are among those that are enjoying the strongest demand.