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Nike tops Wall Street expectations; confirms deal with Amazon

Nike reported fourth-quarter earnings and sales Thursday that topped Wall Street's expectations, also confirming a major deal with a rival retailer that Nike has avoided working with in the past: Amazon.

This news sent shares of the world's largest footwear maker's stock more than 7 percent higher after hours.

On a call with analysts and investors, Nike's management team confirmed a new pilot with Amazon, where the retailer will directly sell a limited product assortment on Amazon's U.S. e-commerce platform. The offerings will include athletic footwear, apparel and accessories.

This is a move Nike has refused to make for decades, instead focusing efforts on its own digital marketplace. Though, reports began to surface earlier in the week that Nike was finally looking to reverse course.

Nike agreed to sell to Amazon in exchange for stricter policing of counterfeits and restrictions on unsanctioned sales of its products, a person familiar with the deal had told The Wall Street Journal.

Nike hopes to "improve the Nike consumer experience on Amazon," CEO Mark Parker said Thursday, adding that the company is still in the early stages of this partnership and will continue to evaluate sales results.

On the earnings front, Oregon-based Nike said its international geographies and direct-to-consumer businesses fueled sales growth in the latest quarter and for the full year. Nike was also able to keep its costs down.

Here's what the company reported vs. what Wall Street was expecting:

  • Earnings per share: 60 cents adjusted vs. a forecast of 50 cents, according to a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate.
  • ...