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Volume 24 No. 157


Nike on Thursday reported a 16% profit for its Q3 ending Feb. 28, but "a huge percentage of the company's discussion with stock analysts" focused on "a slowdown in China,” according to Allan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. Nike’s growth in the country has been “on a torrid pace almost since” the ‘08 Beijing Games. But Nike execs for the past two quarters have been “warning of a slowdown because of excess inventory and setbacks in figuring out what Chinese consumers want.” Revenue in Q3 for Greater China was $635M, down 9% compared to the "same quarter last year.” Nike Brand President Charlie Denson said, "What we see in China, it's still a very robust marketplace. It's still somewhere we believe in long-term." He added that the company was “reassessing China's retail landscape, withdrawing products in some regions and distributing more in others” (Portland OREGONIAN, 3/22). Nike's revenue in China accounts for 10% of its overall revenue, and Morningstar analyst Paul Swinand said of the company, “For real long-term growth to be solid, it has got to come from China and emerging markets.” Nike CEO Mark Parker said while the company was seeing progress in China, they "still have more to do before we can capture its long-term growth potential.” Meanwhile, Nike's overall income rose 55% in the quarter "as a resurgence in North America and easing material costs helped offset continued weakness in China.” Nike “beat expectations" as its North American revenue, which accounts for 40% of all revenue, rose 18% to $2.55B (AP, 3/21). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s John Kell writes Nike’s sales also were “higher in Europe and emerging markets, offsetting weaker demand in greater China and Japan" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/22). Nike shares at presstime were trading at $59.96, up 11.8% from Thursday's close of $53.60 (THE DAILY).

WIPEOUT? The FINANCIAL TIMES’ Neil Hume reports shares in “struggling Australian surfwear company Billabong slumped to a record low in heavy turnover” on Thursday ahead of “a bid deadline for two private equity-led consortiums.” Credit Suisse this week said that Billabong’s shares “could end up being worthless if a private equity bid did not emerge and earnings continued to decline” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 3/22). Billabong shares at presstime were trading at $0.75, up 7.9% from Thursday's close of $0.70 (THE DAILY).