By  on March 18, 2010

Nike Inc. reported third-quarter profits more than doubled and sales climbed, with revenue in China and other emerging markets leading the way.

For the three months ended Feb. 28, the athleticwear giant said Wednesday income was $496.4 million, or $1.01 a diluted share, compared with $243.8 million, or 50 cents a diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Analysts were expecting earnings per share at 89 cents. Excluding year-ago aftertax noncash charges of $241 million for impairment of goodwill, intangible and other assets of its Umbro subsidiary, net income would have increased 2.5 percent for the period, the company said.

Revenues rose 6.6 percent to $4.73 billion from $4.44 billion. Volume in the Greater China region gained 10 percent to $458 million and emerging markets jumped 43 percent to $509 million. North America rose 1 percent to $1.7 billion and Western Europe increased 4 percent to $929 million. Central and Eastern Europe saw an 8 percent decline in revenue to $272 million, and Japan posted a 7 percent drop to $213 million.

Mark Parker, president and chief executive officer, told Wall Street analysts on a conference call, “We returned to top- and bottom-line growth in the third quarter,” and the company is “seeing improving trends” in the marketplace.

“Apparel is the single biggest opportunity for Nike Inc.,” Parker said. He said the Beaverton, Ore.-based company is offering “fewer, more productive styles” in sportswear, which will result in a clearer position for the brand and a “more efficient and more profitable apparel business.”

The company said worldwide futures orders for Nike brand athletic footwear and apparel set for delivery between March and July were $7.1 billion, 9 percent higher than the year-ago period.

For the year, income gained 20.9 percent to $1.38 billion, or $2.81 a diluted share, from $1.15 billion, or $2.33 a diluted share, a year ago on reduced costs and inventory. Revenues fell 3.6 percent to $13.94 billion from $14.46 billion.

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