Today, Nike (NYSE:NKE) reported earnings for the fourth quarter and full year of 2014, the periods ending on May 31. Its fourth-quarter income of $0.78 per share, a gain of 3% over 2013, topped expectations of $0.75.
For the fourth quarter of its 2014 fiscal year, revenues at Nike rose by more than $725 million to stand at $7.4 billion. Its cost of sales rose by just $283 million. Excluding the impact of currency fluctuations, revenue rose by 13%. As a result of revenue growth outpacing expenses, Nike saw an impressive expansion of its gross profit from 43.9% to 45.6%. In total, its profit rose by 15%, to $3.4 billion.
However, thanks to increases in its marketing and general operating expenses, which climbed by 21% to $2.5 billion, net income from continuing operations rose by just 1%, to $698 million. Yet, as a result of a one-time loss of $28 million from discontinued operations in the fourth quarter of 2013, in total, net income at Nike was up 5%. The company did highlight that the reason for the significant increase of 36%, or $234 million, in its demand creation, or marketing expenses, was the result of the World Cup and other "key product initiatives."
Nike also added that its operating expenses topped $1.6 billion, a gain of 13%, as a result of increased efforts to expand its direct-to-consumer business. The company noted that this business was one of the reasons why its top-line profit margin had increased.
For its full 2014 fiscal year, Nike once again reported impressive results, as its earnings per share rose 11% to stand at $2.97, and its net income jumped 10%, to $2.7 billion. Like the fourth quarter, for the full year, Nike saw impressive growth in gross profit, which rose by 13% to $12.5 billion, and its gross margin expanded from 43.6% to 44.8%.
"These results demonstrate the energy and excitement NIKE brings to the market," noted Nike's President and CEO, Mark Parker. "Our ability to relentlessly innovate for consumers drove our growth in FY14, and will continue to fuel it for years to come. And as we grow, we remain focused on managing all areas of our business to drive sustainable, profitable growth for our shareholders."
The fourth quarter and 2014 fiscal year continued to deliver impressive results for Nike, and this was once again strong three- and 12-month periods for the retail giant. The company itself feels like its stock is worth buying, as it repurchased $912 million worth of its shares during the last three months, and a total of $3.4 billion for the full year.
For the full year, the average cost per share repurchased at Nike was 65.83, which is roughly 15% below the closing price of $76.86 on Thursday, when its earnings were announced after hours.
Patrick Morris owns shares of Nike. The Motley Fool recommends Nike. The Motley Fool owns shares of Nike. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.