Nike Expands Converse Stores, Posts Strong Results

In the midst of expanding the retail footprint for its Converse brand, Nike has opened the doors to its largest Converse store yet. The new store, at 8,200 square feet in San Francisco’s Union Square Shopping District, is the fifth in the U.S. In addition to footwear, clothing and accessories, it also offers Converse Customization, a personalization process for one-of-a-kind Converse items.

On iPads, shoppers can use their own designs or choose from 150 available graphics -- many linked to San Francisco -- and add different colored grommets and laces. And the shop is also selling a limited-edition Chuck Taylor All Star San Francisco collection, with graphics featuring local landmarks, for $65.

The opening follows news of strong quarterly results for the Beaverton, Ore.-based marketer, with sales and future orders pleasantly surprising industry observers. For its fiscal fourth quarter, Nike says revenues rose 7% to $6.7 billion (up 9% excluding currency changes). It says it made revenue gains in every product category, and in every region but Western Europe and China. By category, running and basketball sales increased the most.

Net income climbed 25% to $696 million, from $559 million in the same quarter a year ago. And Nike brand future orders -- those scheduled for delivery between June and November -- increased 8% and totaled $12.1 billion.

"Fiscal 2013 was a great year for Nke, driven by our innovative products and the power of our brands,” Nike President and CEO Mark Parker says in its release. “And we’re excited about what lies ahead. We have the best leadership team in the industry and a deep innovation pipeline. Both are aligned against our biggest opportunities to drive growth, manage risk and drive long-term shareholder value."

Among other athletic retailers, Finish Line, based in Indianapolis, says sales for its first fiscal quarter advanced 10% to $351.1 million, with comparable-store results rising 2.4%. “Strategically, the quarter was marked by significant progress on our key growth initiatives including the well-received launch of our Macy’s business in stores and online,” says its chairman/CEO, Glenn Lyon, in its announcement, as well as “the expansion of the running specialty group footprint with the acquisition of some very productive doors. We have clear vision and sound strategies in place.”

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