By  on September 24, 2010

Nike Inc. on Thursday posted first-quarter results that beat analysts’ expectations by 13 cents and said worldwide futures orders were up from a year ago.

For the three months ended Aug. 31, income was up 9 percent to $559 million, or $1.14 a diluted share, from $513 million, or $1.04, in last year’s period. Analysts were expecting $1.01 a share. Revenues climbed 7.8 percent to $5.18 billion from $4.8 billion.

By region, North American revenues rose 8.1 percent to $1.9 billion, with apparel rising 16 percent to $515 million. Also showing gains were Central and Eastern Europe, where total revenues picked up 3.1 percent to $263 million, with apparel up 3.4 percent to $92 million, and Greater China, where revenues posted a 10.6 percent increase to $460 million, with apparel up 8.3 percent to $182 million.

The biggest jump was in emerging markets, where revenues rose 30.5 percent to $591 million as apparel sales jumped 28.4 percent to $149 million. Two regions showed declines: Western Europe, where overall revenues fell 4.4 percent to $1.06 billion and apparel slipped 7.4 percent to $364 million, and in Japan, where revenues were down 12.4 percent to $163 million and apparel sales contracted 10.4 percent to $60 million.

The company said worldwide future orders for Nike brand athletic footwear and apparel for delivery between September 2010 and January 2011 totaled $7.1 billion, or 10 percent higher than a year ago.

The earnings and condition of Nike’s order book helped lift shares 4.9 percent to $81.50 in early after-hours trading. They closed at $77.67, up 0.5 percent, prior to the earnings release. Mark Parker, Nike president and chief executive officer, told Wall Street analysts on a conference call, “Even in a global market we see evidence that our growth is accelerating, and our leadership position is helping to lift the entire industry. The energy in the marketplace also illustrates an appetite for sports, innovative products and a desire for our brands.…I’m more optimistic now than I have ever been. It all starts with meaningful connections with athletes and consumers. That’s where the insights are, that’s where the innovation begins, and that’s where our growth is.”

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