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NIKE's fiscal Q2 EPS beats estimates on international sales growth

NIKE Inc.'s fiscal second-quarter earnings per share beat analysts' estimates as it saw double-digit sales growth in greater China and in Japan.

That growth helped the company compensate for a negative impact from a higher tax rate, unfavorable foreign exchange rates, higher product costs and higher off-price sales.

The athletic footwear giant said Dec. 20 that it posted diluted earnings per share of 50 cents for the fiscal second quarter ended Nov. 30, beating the consensus mean of analysts' estimates of consolidated GAAP EPS of 43 cents, according to data from S&P Capital IQ.

The figure was up 11.1% over NIKE's earnings of 45 cents per share for the fiscal second quarter a year prior.

NIKE's second-quarter net income rose 7.3% to $842 million from $785 million for the same period a year ago. Pre-tax income grew 14.8% to $1.11 billion from $970 million for the same period a year prior.

NIKE's second-quarter sales increased 6.4% to $8.18 billion from $7.69 billion for the same period a year ago. On a currency-neutral basis, sales would have grown 8%, the company said.

NIKE brand second-quarter sales posted double-digit growth in greater China, which jumped 12% to $1.06 billion, and Japan, which increased 16% to $238 million.

NIKE brand sales grew 3% in North America to $3.65 billion, jumped 6% in emerging markets to $1.05 billion and increased 7% in Western Europe to $1.39 billion. In Central and Eastern Europe, the flagship brand's sales grew 1% to $328 million.

Converse, the other brand in NIKE's portfolio, saw its second-quarter sales increase 5% to $416 million.

The company said it registered a higher tax rate, which jumped to 24.4% for the quarter, compared to 19.1% for the same period a year prior.

Cost of sales also rose, increasing 8.8% for the fiscal second quarter to $4.56 billion from $4.19 billion for the same period a year prior. That lowered gross margin to 44.2% from 45.6% for the same period a year ago. The company said higher average selling prices were more than offset by higher product costs, higher off-price sales and unfavorable foreign exchange rates.