December 20, 2018 / 9:41 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 2-N. America online sales drive Nike's quarterly results beat

(Adds background on Nike's strategy, CFO comment)

Dec 20 (Reuters) - Nike Inc reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit, as the world's largest footwear maker sold more full-priced items online in North America, sending its shares up 8 percent on Thursday.

For more than a year, Nike has been speeding up the pace of new product launches and expanding partnerships with online retailers, leading to a 41 percent rise in digital sales in the quarter.

The footwear maker has also ramped up its supply chain to bring fresh fashion faster to stores. This has helped the sneaker giant to discount less compared with last year, when it was locked in a stiff competition with German rival Adidas AG in North America.

The strategy powered sales growth in the region, Nike's biggest unit by sales, with revenue rising 8.5 percent to $3.78 billion in the second quarter.

"Amidst an increasingly dynamic macro environment, what is certain is that Nike's execution of the Consumer Direct Offense is driving consistently strong growth across our diverse, global portfolio," Andy Campion, chief financial officer, said. Nike's gross margins rose by 80 basis points to 43.8 percent in the quarter, as it sold more higher priced items at its retail stores and online platform.

Total revenue for the maker of Jordan sneakers rose 9.6 percent to $9.37 billion.

Net income rose to $847 million, or 52 cents per share, in the quarter ended Nov. 30, from $767 million, or 46 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average expected Nike to earn 46 cents per share on revenue of $9.18 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Nike shares, which have lost about 18 percent in the last three months, jumped to $73 after the bell. (Reporting by Nivedita Balu and Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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