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Nike hikes dividend by 12% ahead of expected sales bounce

Nov 20 (Reuters) - Nike Inc said on Friday it would raise its quarterly dividend by 12%, or 3 cents per share, underscoring the financial strength of the world’s largest sportswear maker in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nike in September said it expects sales in the second half of its fiscal year ending May 2021 to be “up significantly”, as it bounces back from a slump earlier this year when retailers canceled orders and lockdowns kept people away from stores in key markets.

The company’s share price, up about 30% this year, has more than doubled since its March low as it slashed costs by cutting corporate jobs and targeted online investments.

A cash dividend of $0.275 per share on Nike’s outstanding class A and class B stock is payable on Dec. 29.

2020 marks Nike’s 19th consecutive year of increasing dividend payouts, after raising quarterly payments by 11% in 2019, and comes as many other companies either cut or pause shareholder returns due to the virus outbreak.

Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath

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