Nike outpaces Adidas and Puma in race for sales amid virus lockdown

Nike outpaces Adidas and Puma in race for sales amid virus lockdown
Nike shares have fared better than those of Addidas and Puma during the Covid-19 outbreak

Nike shares soared as much as 11% after online-order growth helped sales vault past Wall Street estimates, laying out a blueprint for how the sportswear giant could cope with the coronavirus pandemic worldwide.

The company posted revenue of $10.1bn (€9.3bn)for the three months to the end of February, a period that included shutdowns across China, one of its key markets.

Analysts had projected revenue of $9.6bn. Earnings amounted to 53 cents a share, matching estimates.

Since the end of the quarter, hundreds of millions in Europe and the US are now living under various forms of lockdowns, and Nike may have an opportunity to accelerate its conversion of customers from brick-and-mortar shopping to digital.

Online sales, already a major priority for Nike, were up 35% last year to $3.8bn. In the latest quarter, they rose even faster, at 36%.

However, it has been a different story for rival Adidas.

It has forecast the coronavirus will cut first-quarter profit in China by about half a billion dollars, while German rival Puma said it no longer expects any recovery in the short term.

The German sportswear maker forecast first-quarter revenue will drop 10%, stripping €400m-€500m from profit. Puma said that it can’t quantify the potential impact of the disease outbreak, and so last month’s target for a 10% increase in revenue this year no longer applies.

Sportswear demand will take longer to recover than other consumer goods, Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted said.

“We are on the end of the food chain,” he said. “If you’ve been sitting for two weeks in an apartment, your first thought is not to buy a pair of sneakers, it is to restore your fridge.”

Shares of Adidas fell as much as 8.8%, while Puma dropped 6%.

Adidas declined to estimate the full-year impact of the spread of Covid-19, which will be worse because business is already also slowing in Japan and South Korea even as China starts to recover.

- Bloomberg

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