NEW YORK — Nike Inc.'s women's merchandise is a key focus for the company and a driver for growth domestically and around the world, said Mindy Grossman, the company's vice president of global apparel, at a Nike investor meeting here Tuesday.
"We have had an evolution in how Nike is thinking of women and sport," Grossman said. "There is a very strong connection between the gym world and outside ... Women look for more than function in apparel."
Grossman outlined a series of initiatives the company is taking to expand its women's business, including new product categories and innovations such as dance fitness, women-specific footwear molds and new in-store Nike shops at department stores, with head-to-toe coordinated looks.
Grossman was one of a number of Nike executives who spoke to a packed house of analysts and investors at the company's offices at 45 West 18th Street here. William D. Perez, the athletic company's new president and chief executive officer, addressed the crowd in his first formal meeting with the financial community.
"We have unlimited opportunities to grow the Nike brand," said Perez, who added that joining Nike has been an "amazing ride" and joked about how excitement at his last job came from killing bugs and cleaning windows. Perez, an avid runner and sport enthusiast, was formerly ceo at S.C. Johnson & Co., the consumer products giant. "The multibrand approach really excites us. While the Nike brand is the lifeblood, we will see increasing business from other brands."
While executives overseeing different regions and product segments were on hand, Philip Knight, Nike's founder and legendary ceo, did not attend the meeting. Knight is chairman but no longer runs the day-to-day operations of the company.
On Monday, Nike, the world's largest athletic company, reported a 15 percent spike in earnings and a 6.7 percent gain in sales for the fourth quarter, driven by increases in most regions and product categories, although apparel saw a slight decline. After seeing its shares fall $3.58 Monday, Nike's stock gained 2.6 percent on Tuesday to close at $88 on the New York Stock Exchange. On Tuesday, Donald Blair, Nike's chief financial officer, reiterated Nike's stated financial objectives going forward, including high-single-digit revenue growth, midteen earnings per share growth and continued gross margin expansion.Perez said at the meeting that Nike also is looking to slow the growth of operating expenses, which have been a concern for some analysts.
All the Nike executives who spoke were upbeat about the company and its prospects for growth following what has been a particularly stellar year for the firm. Among those addressing the crowd was Scott Olivet, Nike's vice president of subsidiaries and new business development, who spoke about synergies between different business segments. For example, Cole Haan has worked closely with Nike on its G series, which has Nike Air technology, while Converse tapped into Nike's online customization program to launch a similar system.
Mark Parker, Nike brand co-president, noted the brand has gained acceptability in new categories recently such as skateboarding and is benefiting from new footwear performance technologies.
Eric Sprunk, vice president and general manager, global footwear, outlined a number of initiatives Nike has made toward what it calls "lean manufacturing" to reduce waste and improve speed of products to market, including a new "lean innovation center" in Vietnam.
While Nike has snapped up a number of companies in the last few years, acquisitions are not a priority now, Perez said during the question-and-answer period. "The bulk of our growth will come internally," he said. "We are not actually pursuing any acquisitions now."
In a separate development, Nike said it was launching a new performance footwear and apparel collection with Lance Armstrong called "10/2." The collection is named after the day Armstrong was diagnosed with cancer. It ranges in retail price from $20 to $100 and builds on the success of the "Live Strong" yellow bracelets, a partnership between Nike and Armstrong to raise funds for the Lance Armstrong Foundation to help fight cancer. The bracelets were top sellers last summer and continue to be popular. The apparel and footwear can be purchased online at Wearyellow.com and at niketown.com and will hit Niketown and other stores starting Saturday.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
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For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews