Nike seen on track for long-run growth despite tough competition

Friday, 30 September 2016 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Nike Inc, the world’s No. 1 footwear maker, will continue to dominate the sportswear market despite intensifying competition in North America, analysts said on Wednesday, a day after the company reported “futures orders” below estimates.

Nike’s futures ordering program allows retailers to order five or six months in advance of delivery, with the commitment delivery will be made within a set time at a fixed price.

Nike said on Tuesday its global orders for September through January were up 7 percent on a constant-currency basis, missing the 8% increase analysts had expected.

“Despite the threat from a push by competition and disappointing futures, we view Nike’s scale and dominance as a long-term barrier to entry and maintain our ‘buy’ despite what appears a nascent share loss,” Nomura Securities analyst Simeon Siegel wrote in a client note.

Analysts also noted that Nike’s futures orders for all regions except North America had met or beaten estimates.

Nike shares were set to open about 1.2% lower at $54.68 on Wednesday, even though the company’s quarterly revenue and profit beat Wall Street estimates.

The shares fell as much as 5% in after-hours trading on Tuesday after the release of the results.

At least eight brokerages cut their price targets on the company’s stock, with FBR Securities reducing the most, by $8 to $55. The median price target is $63.

Nike’s rivals are chipping away at its decades-long dominant position in sports shoes - Under Armour Inc with its popular Stephen Curry line of basketball shoes and Adidas with retro sneakers such as the Stan Smith line.

Germany-based Adidas has also been spending more on marketing in North America.

Nike said it would no longer provide information on futures orders in its quarterly earnings releases, but would discuss them during its earnings conference calls. That decision was “very suspect”, Edward Jones analyst Brian Yarbrough told Reuters on Tuesday.

Analysts at Credit Suisse also expressed concern.

“We are becoming increasingly concerned that the quality of results is deteriorating, as top-line trends in key markets look shaky, gross margin pressure is persistent, and the company is reducing disclosure,” Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a note.

The brokerage cut its price target to $60 from $63.

However, Nomura’s Siegel played down the change in futures reporting.

“Sales guidance has been a better approximator of actual sales growth vs. futures in all but two quarters since 1Q15 and we therefore fully understand management’s decision to dilute the importance of the metric,” he said, cutting his price target to $60 from $64.