Athletic gear giant Nike Inc expects its revenue to rise more than 40 percent to $27 billion by 2015, helped by demand for its namesake athletic merchandise and fast-growing brands like Converse, the company said on Wednesday.

We're going to continue to build, fuel and accelerate the Nike portfolio, said Chief Executive Mark Parker, addressing a crowd during an investor day held in New York.

Tremendous opportunity still exists to grow the Nike brand organically, and the company will continue to launch game-changing innovations, Parker said.

Some $23 billion of that overall $27 billion revenue target will come from the Nike brand itself, executives said.

The world's largest athletic shoe and clothing maker is stressing growth as it faces largely mature markets in the United States, Europe and Japan.

The company, whose signature swoosh logo is recognized around the world, derives most profit from its Nike-branded gear, but its smaller brands are among the fastest-growing. Nike sees its $2 billion wholesale business at Converse, known for its high-top sneakers, doubling by 2015.

Think of Converse as an inspired-by-basketball brand. It drifts into other areas -- into music, into rock and roll ... where Nike wouldn't go, said Eunan McLaughlin, president of Nike's affiliates unit.

That brand is only owned and managed by Nike in the United States and Canada, leaving room for opportunity, he said.

As we start to take greater control of those markets, in China and the UK, for example, there will be an immediate impact not only on revenue but on our earnings, he said.

Shares of Nike are up 41 percent since January 2009, but fell 1.3 percent on Wednesday.


Similar opportunities exist for brands such as Umbro and Hurley, he said. Hurley, currently a $200 million business, will more than double to over $500 million by 2015, he said.

Nike's action sports business -- geared to skateboarders and the like -- will more than double in the same time frame, executives said.

The company posted overall revenue of $19.2 billion in its full fiscal year ended May 31, 2009.

Parker reiterated the company's long-term growth targets, which call for high-single-digit revenue growth and earnings per share growth in the mid-teens on a percentage basis.

Nike Brand President Charlie Denson said the growth of the middle class around the world would help the brand find new audiences.

Beaverton, Oregon-based Nike sells mainly through wholesale channels, but also operates its own fleet of stores. After a period of weaker sales during the downturn, especially in hard-hit Europe and in Japan, Nike has recently seen stronger selling trends, including advance orders placed by retailers.

The brand has steadfastly stood behind its star athlete, Tiger Woods, who has admitted to a string of marital infidelities, but executives did not expressly mention him during the investor day.

How does Nike grow? It's all about the athletes, said Denson, naming other sports figures who endorse Nike, such as Kobe Bryant and Maria Sharapova. He did not mention Woods.

Parker said the company's cumulative free cash flow from operations should hit $12 billion by 2015. Nike will continue to grow its dividend and will spend $5 billion in share buybacks over the next five years, he said.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller and Alexandria Sage, editing by Dave Zimmerman and Gunna Dickson)