UPDATE 1-Nike shares rise on strong demand

Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:06pm EST

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Dec 20 (Reuters) - Nike Inc beat profit estimates for the second quarter on strong demand in its domestic market and appears on track to keep worldwide demand steady, sending shares up 4 percent.

Future orders, or orders of Nike branded shoes and clothing scheduled for delivery from December 2012 through April 2013 were up 14 percent in North America, Nike's most mature market.

Worldwide orders were up 6 percent, the same as last quarter.

"The China problem won't go away in 12-18 months, but it is no worse than it was expected," said Rahul Sharma, founder and managing director of Neev Capital, a London-based consulting company.

"But look at North America, it is on fire. And this is such a big business," he said.

Nike had been caught with excess inventory in key markets like China, and was finding it difficult to tackle intense competition and frequent promotional sales by local brands, while distributors and retailers remain wary in an uncertain economy.

On Thursday, the company said inventories for the second quarter ended Nov 30 rose 9 percent, a much smaller rise than the 35 percent it saw last year.

For the second quarter, the company earned $384 million, or 1.14 a share. Analysts, on average, were expecting the company to earn $1 a share, as per Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 7 percent to $6.0 billion.

Nike shares were trading up at 103.23 Thursday after the bell. They closed at $99 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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