By  on June 27, 2007

Nike Inc. reported Tuesday that earnings climbed 31.6 percent in the fourth quarter, as the company saw growth across the board.

For the quarter ended May 31, the Beaverton, Ore.-based active giant's income increased to $437.9 million, or 86 cents a diluted share, from $332.8 million, or 64 cents, in the same quarter last year.

Sales for the quarter rose 9.4 percent to $4.38 billion from $4.01 billion.

"We just finished another strong year at Nike," Mark Parker, president and chief executive officer, said Tuesday in an earnings call after the stock market closed. "This marks 23 consecutive quarters of year-over-year revenue growth."

All regions and categories experienced sales growth in the quarter, except for the Americas, where revenues were flat. Footwear had its first $1 billion quarter.

Other businesses — including Converse, which enjoyed its best quarter ever — also performed well during the three-month period.

Nike also kept inventory costs down. "I said a year ago inventory revenues were unacceptable," Parker said, noting this had changed. For the year, inventories rose only 2 percent, compared with double-digit growth in the past.

For fiscal year 2007, earnings climbed 7.1 percent to $1.49 billion, or $2.93 a diluted share, from $1.39 billion, or $2.64, in fiscal 2006.

Revenues for the year jumped 9.2 percent to $16.33 billion from $14.95 billion last year.

Parker said the company is on track to reach its goal of $23 billion in revenues by 2011. "While our growth outpaces that of the industry, we do not measure our success relative to our competitors," Parker said. "We are focused on the gap between Nike and our potential."

Going forward, the athletic giant reported worldwide future orders for active apparel and footwear for June through November will climb to $7.7 billion, up 12 percent from that period last year.

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