Mark Parker, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Nike Inc., said the company’s shareholders should expect more of the same — just faster and better.
At Nike’s annual meeting, Parker described the last fiscal year as a pivotal point as the sportswear giant continues its push to come to market with ever-more innovation and a new focus on individual consumers.
The brand has a lot to work worth. Last year, Nike’s revenues rose 7 percent to $39.1 billion as profits hit $4 billion.
“It was, I think, an inflection point in our transformation,” Parker said. “These results didn’t come around by accident. Performance begins with the right strategy.”
In 2017, the company introduced its “Consumer Direct Offense” that focused on building a faster pipeline that could serve consumers personally and at scale.
Last fiscal year was the first full year for the program and Parker said, “We’re confident that we’re on the right track,” pointing to how the company is working to accelerate the impact of innovation.
Parker said “new innovation platforms” — such as Joyride cushioning in footwear — accounted for 100 percent of the company’s incremental revenue growth last year.
The company doubled how much it invests in innovation and the ceo said Nike is being smarter and faster in how it chases newness.
And more of that newness will likely be finding its way into women’s, where Nike is looking to drive innovation in apparel and footwear.
“We are underpenetrated in the women’s side of our business,” Parker said. “The upside there, through the power of innovation, is actually quite tremendous.”
Nike’s women’s business grew by double digits last year and Parker said the brand benefited from “moments like the World Cup” where the U.S. women’s team won big — on and off the field — and the brand outfitted 14 national teams.
The ceo offered no new specifics, but assured investors that the forward momentum would continue with more new offerings across both women’s and men’s.
“This is going to be another banner year,” Parker said. “Incredible performance breakthroughs, as well as style — and those two things should go together. We have incredible product coming from Nike design.”
Nike is gearing up for the summer Olympics in Tokyo next year, so expect a big push as the brand pushes to expand.
“Tokyo’s sort of where the term papers come due,” Parker said. “We have to really shine.”
At the meeting, Parker was asked why Nike decided to pull the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July sneakers featuring the Betsey Ross flag, which some find offensive given its connection to an era that allowed slavery.
“We saw many people raising concerns and we made the decision to halt distribution,” the ceo said. “We didn’t want to unintentionally offend or detract from the Fourth of July holiday.”