Nike Inc., the world's largest sportswear maker, is scheduled to release its latest quarterly results Thursday, with analysts keeping a close eye on holiday sales projections, and possible affects of Russia’s currency crisis.
Nike warned in September it expected sales to remain flat because of foreign exchange rates, and following the ruble's massive decline earlier this week, investors will be watching for how Nike plans to hedge foreign currency issues in the coming months. More than half of Nike's sales are derived outside North America.
However, Russia’s currency crisis might not mean much to Nike in the big picture because much of its strength is in other regions, according to Sam Poser, senior research analyst at Sterne Agee. Nike recorded a profit of $27.8 billion for fiscal 2014, with just under 5 percent coming from Western Europe and $1.4 billion coming from Central Europe. That compares with $12.3 billion in the U.S. “You’re going to face headwinds with currencies, but structurally they’re running as good of a business as anyone else out there,” Poser said.
While Western Europe is facing a difficulties, Citigroup still expects a double-digit growth in the region for Nike based on strong brand momentum in wholesale, as well as continued market share gains at the expense of rival Adidas. Citi is forecasting 13 percent growth compared with 23 percent during the same period last year, Kate McShane, analyst at Citigroup said in a research note. Central and Eastern Europe have continued to show double-digit growth of 14 percent last year, and Citigroup is expecting another strong mid-teens futures number, excluding Russia, for the region this quarter on broad-based market growth.
Russia's currency crisis could mean bigger trouble for Adidas. The Russia/Eastern Europe region represents around 13 percent of sales; the company doesn't disclose Russia's total percentage. But according to Paul Swinand, equity analyst at Morningstar Investment Services Inc. "Adidas’s could be looking at a $100 million profit hit, especially since they rent stores in dollars," Swinand said.
“I think the market should like Adidas in the long term because if the dollar keeps strengthening over time and the euro weakens, that would help Adidas, whereas the headwind for Nike is more on Europe,” Swinand said.
While Nike has been outperforming rival Adidas on its home turf in Europe, Adidas’ acquisition of Reebok could create a stronger competitor, according to McShane.
Investors will also be keeping an eye on Nike's holiday sales. The company typically releases its marquee products around the holidays that are fairly limited supplies, including its release of the company’s 12th LeBron James signature shoe on Black Friday this year. Analysts at Citigroup expect Nike to maintain its outlook for the current quarter with revs expected to grow despite 1 to 2 percent headwinds from foreign exchange markets. Wall Street also expects Nike’s earnings per share of 70 will come in-line with Wall Street’s consensus estimates, driven by over 10 percent revenue growth, including foreign exchange markets, driven by the U.S., Europe, Emerging Markets and China.
Nike is expected to report fiscal second-quarter earnings of $618.92 million, or earnings per share of 70 cents, on revenue of $7.15 billion, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The sportswear maker posted a profit of $537 million, or EPS of 59 cents, on sales of $6.4 billion during the year ago period.
Following the earnings announcement after the closing bell Thursday, Nike will host a conference call with shareholders at 5 p.m. EST to discuss the company’s second quarter results. Nike, which has a market cap of $81.7 billion, has seen its stock price gain 21.53 percent this year. Ahead of the earnings announcement, shares of Nike rose 1.21 percent Thursday to $95.64 in midday trading.