Broad-based growth fuels Nike’s quarter

Nike Golf, gaining traction across-the-board in golf’s key product categories, reported its third-quarter sales increased 23 percent, chipping in to parent Nike Inc.’s success in the period.

For the three months ended Feb. 29, Nike Inc. generated revenues of $2.9 billion, up 21 percent from $2.4 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Net income increased 61 percent to $200.3 million from $124.7 million.

The Beaverton, Ore.-based footwear, apparel and equipment company does not disclose specific financial results for its golf division. But Nike Golf president Bob Wood said the group – which started evolving into a standalone unit in 1998 – is beginning to reap rewards for its singular focus on golf.

“We’ve been in the business another year. . . .You have to be consistent to be successful in this business, and that’s what we’re doing,” Wood said.

Improved distribution, enhanced customer service and better products, Wood said, combined to yield year-over-year sales gains in the following categories: apparel (+55 percent), footwear (+19 percent), balls (+12 percent), clubs (+53 percent) and bags (+8 percent.)

Most notable, perhaps, is Nike Golf’s progress in ball sales at pro shops and off-course retailers combined. In January, Nike held 9.6 percent unit share – far behind category leader Titleist, but good for fourth place and gaining on staples such as Pinnacle and Top-Flite branded balls, according to research firm Golf Datatech LLC.

The growing success of the Nike One, the company’s first ball to sustain a price point above $40, also is a sign that Nike is being perceived by consumers and retailers as an authentic golf equipment brand, company officials say.

For its third quarter, Nike’s “other revenues” – which include Nike Golf, Converse Inc., Bauer Nike Hockey Inc., Cole Haan and Hurley International LLC – grew 68 percent to $317.1 million from $188.2 million a year ago.

The company’s acquisition of Converse contributed significantly to the increase.

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