“The athletic apparel maker, which posted a 5.2% increase in its fiscal
third-quarter earnings, said because of rising oil, cotton, labor and
air-freight costs, its gross margins will continue to lag in the near
team. Nike executives, on a Thursday conference call, said the price
increases won’t begin to mitigate that margin pressure until next fiscal
year. ” “..

Nike, which reported after the close, had been engaging in “surgical”
price increases that targeted specific products and markets, but coming
price increases will be “across the board,” the company said. ” “..

Nike shares fell 6.5% to $80.50 apiece in after-hours trading, after
rising 59 cents to $85.41 in 4 p.m. composite trading on the New York
Stock Exchange. ” “..

Nike, one of the world’s largest sporting goods makers, said gross
margin in the latest quarter fell to 45.8% from 46.9% on higher costs
combined with less license revenue. ” “..

On the conference call, Chief Executive Mark Parker said the U.S.
consumer remains under pressure from high unemployment and inflation
risks. ” “..

Positive currency changes helped propel Nike sales in China, Japan and
emerging markets up nearly 15% to $1.39 billion, even with revenue in
Japan falling 8% versus last year. Japan sales in the latest quarter
were down 16%, excluding currency changes. ” “..

Nike said all of its employees in Japan were accounted for and safe, following last week’s earthquake and tsunami. ” “..

Japan had been a “challenging” market even before the tragedy, Nike
said, and it expects the disaster will have a negative impact on both
its revenue and profit in the country. Executives said, however, said it
is still too early to determine the extent of that effect. ” “..

Currency changes caused European Nike sales for the quarter to slip $10
million to about $1.16 billion, most notably turning 6% revenue growth
in Western Europe absent currency adjustment to a 2% sales decline.
” “..

World-wide future orders, an indicator of growth based on estimates of
product orders, increased 11% to $7.9 billion. Excluding currency
changes, those orders grew 9%.
” “..

For the latest quarter ended Feb. 28, Nike posted a profit of $523
million, or $1.08 a share, up from $497 million, or $1.01 a share, a
year earlier. Revenue rose 7.3% to $5.08 billion. Analysts surveyed by
Thomson Reuters predicted earnings of $1.12 a share on revenue of $5.18
billion. ” “..

In North America, Nike’s largest market, sales were up 9% to $1.84
billion. On the call, Nike said North America and China are crucial to
the footwear giant’s future success. ”