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Nike Keeps Growing Through Coronavirus Challenges

By Demitri Kalogeropoulos - Updated Mar 25, 2020 at 8:11AM

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Surging online sales helped keep sales rising even as the China division shrank.

What happened

Nike (NKE 4.55%) is having no trouble growing its business even as the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily affects some of its key selling markets. The footwear and sports apparel giant on Tuesday announced fiscal third-quarter earnings results that showed solid revenue gains despite the coronavirus disruptions.

Worldwide sales rose 7% after adjusting for currency exchange rate shifts, which was good news considering China, its biggest growth market, declined for the first time in years.

A woman jogging.

Image source: Getty Images.

That segment fell 4% after rising at a double-digit pace in each of the last 22 quarters as coronavirus containment measures closed most of Nike's retailing outlets for a brief period in February. The U.S. geography grew at 4%, or just slightly slower than in the prior quarter.

What's next?

Nike's U.S. sales trends likely turned lower in the days following the close of the quarter, which marked the start of widespread social distancing measures affecting its domestic store base. Yet executives sounded optimistic that the quick rebound they've seen in China might apply here, too. "As we start to see recovery in China," CEO John Donahoe said in a press release, "no one is better equipped than Nike to navigate the current climate."

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