Commentary

Nike Sets Sales Bar At $50 Billion For 2020

With a particular focus on “athleisure” wear for women, Nike says it expects to hit annual sales of $50 billion by 2020 as e-commerce helps it extend its global heel strike to everyday strolls on the boulevard. The company’s first investor day in two years was led by president and CEO Mark Parker, who is co-founder Phil Knight’s choice to succeed him as chairman sometime in the coming year.

“The world’s largest sporting-goods company said its women’s business will double to $11 billion in revenue in five years, while online sales will increase sevenfold to $7 billion,” Bloomberg’s Matthew Townsend reports. “The company’s total revenue forecast implies annual growth rate of about 10.3%.” 

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“Nike has more aggressively sought to get more women interested in the brand, especially as they become more active and incorporate more athletic gear into other aspects of their lifestyle — the much talked about ‘athleisure’ trend,” writesFortune’s John Kell. “That is when athletic gear — sneakers, tights and other apparel — are worn around town, not just for workouts.”

As Kell reported when Nike’s new line of sports bras and tights made their debut a year ago at a “posh event in the trendy SoHo neighborhood in New York City,” the brand has been pushing both style and function in its new gear. Its bras, for example, have fewer seams that curtail circulation.

“We see this as not a fitness trend for women — that is, short term like a fashion trend — but we see this as a lifestyle shift,” Nike CEO  Parker tells Bloomberg Television’s Stephanie Ruhle. “Active apparel will be here to stay for years to come.” 

He also paints a rosy picture of Nike’s future in China despite the recent turmoil in its economy. “The consumers want premium brands. They want authentic brands. They’re voting every day and Nike’s actually doing quite well,” he says.

The company also “has started reconfiguring stores to focus more on women's apparel and is opening women's-only stores in select cities,” Hadley Malcolm reports in USA Today. “The stores have tailored experiences for female athletes, such as sports bra fittings. It also plans to broaden the appeal of its Jordan brand for female consumers.”

“Parker said it is time for the Jordan brand to move beyond the confines of the past 30 years of being largely limited to men’s basketball,” Sara Germano writes for the Wall Street Journal. “The company has been slowly introducing Jordan branded products in different categories, making a tennis shoe for Roger Federer and track spikes for American sprinter Kori Carter.”

“Our women's business today is outpacing our men's business on dotcom. So it gives us a great indication that more women want access to our brand,” Nike brand president Trevor Edwards tells Reuters’ Sruthi Ramakrishnan and Subrat Patnaik. 

All genders can look forward to improved dotcom access, in fact. Among aggressive tech upgrades, the company plans to boost shopping capabilities on its apps and Nike.com. “We will be at the consumer's fingertips every day,” says Edwards, USA Today’s Malcolm reports.

Parker also said it would build a 125,000-square-foot product-creation center on its Beaverton [Ore.] campus called the Nike Advanced Product Creation Center — “a facility for advanced manufacturing and design technologies that features 3D printing and automation ‘across the board,’” reports Elaine Low for Investor’s Business Daily.

“Building on its digital investments is a product-creation partnership with DreamWorks Animation and its tech group Nova to build a ‘3D digital design system’ capable of ‘nearly instantaneous digital print applications, photo-real 3D visualizations and ultra-rapid prototyping,’” Low writes.

Nike had about $30 billion in revenue in its last full fiscal year, CNBC reports, with sales up 10.1%. They rose 9.8% the year before.

Watching Parker stroll on stage before more than 100 analysts and media types at the Tiger Woods Center on the company's headquarters campus near Beaverton, Ore., yesterday, Allan Brettman reports he said: “Fifty billion. That's an ambitious goal. We know that. We make it our daily ambition to achieve ambitious goals.”

They just do it, indeed. Nike’s share price has risen nearly 31% so far in 2015  — “the best performer among the 30 companies on the Dow Jones industrial average” — Reuters reports, though it closed flat yesterday.

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