Nike's basketball business leads profit rebound

A detail view of the Nike sneakers worn by Jordan Farmar #4 of the Memphis Grizzlies in the first half during the game against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on April 13, 2016 in Oakland, California. Image copyright Getty Images

Nike, the world's leading sportswear manufacturer, has posted better-than-expected profits following a rebound in its basketball business.

Profits rose 7.3% to $842m (£681m) in the three months to November, while revenue jumped 6.4% to $8.18bn.

Nike's basketball category and the Jordan brand accounted for about 15% of Nike's wholesale revenue in 2016.

"Basketball is back," Nike president Trevor Edwards told analysts on a conference call.

Nike, the world's largest sports footwear-maker, has released new lines such as the Jordan 31 and Kobe A.D that have proved popular with consumers.

It has been facing stiffer competition from rival Under Armour, which has a top-selling line by NBA star Stephen Curry.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Stephen Curry plays for the Golden State Warriors

Nike's sales in North America, its biggest market, rose 3% in the second quarter and were up 12% in Greater China.

The US firm stopped issuing future orders for deliveries - previously a key measure for analysts - starting in the latest quarter.

Nike shares rose 1.8% to $51.79 in New York on Tuesday but have fallen 17% this year, making the company one of the Dow's worst performers.

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