Nike online sales soared 36 per cent in the February quarter, compensating in part for a slump in sales across Mainland China which was in lockdown for much of January and February due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The strength of online sales gave the retail giant a buffer from stalling brick-and-mortar sales, but it is not just in China that the effect is obvious.
In an earnings call, Nike EVP and CFO Andy Campion said online sales in every global market grew in excess of 30 per cent for both its core brand, and sister brand Converse in the three months to February 28. That fuelled growth in both quarterly sales and earnings greater than the company expected.
“From a digital capability perspective, the investments we’ve made to-date are now proving to be the foundation for our resilience amid challenges and they will be strengths as we emerge,” said Campion.
“We are still in the early innings of Nike’s digital transformation, but the capabilities we’ve already been building for the future are proving to be the strongest pillars within our business today.
“These are times in which strong brands get stronger and we’re confident that Nike will come back stronger than ever.”
Campion told analysts that following its China experience, the company is now seeing similar trends play out in other markets where government lockdowns are resulting in shopping malls and stores being closed to help stem the spread of the virus. Now, consumers are shopping online instead.
Nike is responding to the digital uptake by using tools which dynamically model demand, planning, allocation and pricing and using its app and membership program to reach out to consumers and encourage them to be active at home, while in lockdown. Those mediums are also offering products and services specifically targeted to various groups of consumers or individuals.