Nike shares jump 6.2% on strong home demand

Sportswear giant Nike shares closed with a sharp gain on Friday after it reported a strong rise in demand in its home North American market.

Shares rose 6.2% after the company's third quarter figures suggested steady demand for its products around the world.

Orders for delivery of its shoes and clothing for the coming months were up 14% in the home market.

Worldwide orders for the December-April period were up 6%,

Nike's chief executive, Mark Parker, said the level of home demand was a welcome boost: "In North America, we created great momentum. This is somewhat counterintuitive to some, given this market size and assumed maturity.

"But I see tremendous growth potential in North America."

The company's past reported orders were lower than expected.

Profit margins were down by 30 basis points on the second quarter, but Nike said it expects margins to grow in the fourth quarter.

The company made profits of $384m in the third quarter, 14% higher than analysts were expecting with revenue up 7%.

Despite the positive figure, Nike's global performance was weak in certain areas, such as China, where it had excess stock and faces strong competition from local brands.

However, the picture there is improving with inventory levels rising 9% in the quarter, a far smaller build-up of excess stock than the 35% it saw in the same quarter a year ago.

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