The world’s largest sportswear manufacturer by sales reported a 7 per cent rise in group revenue including its Converse, Hurley and Nike Golf brands to $6bn (£3.7bn) for the three months to 30 November.
The business attributed the Nike brand’s better than expected performance to double-digit growth from its running division, which it claims has been a “growth accelerator” for its women’s products.
Charlie Denson, president of the Nike brand, says the company will grow the running category through marketing and ramping up investment in product innovation in the months to come.
He adds: “I continue to see a lot of opportunities for [the running] category. Participation rates are growing around the world, our performance innovation is stronger than ever and apparel continues to bring new energy to the consumer.
“If you look at the combined strength of women’s running, training and sportswear year-to-date, it is outgrowing our men’s business. Better still, our women’s business will be bringing a lot of new energy into the retail space this spring and on into the summer.”
The strategy is part of a wider push from the brand to make its running, training and sportswear categories more appealing to women.
Nike has been growing its running offering this year through its sports performance monitor FuelBand, which launched earlier this year. It is also launching an accelerator scheme for start-ups to develop new digital fitness products.
The business counts running as one of the key pillars of its global marketing strategy and hopes next year’s push will give it prominence in a market that has seen both Reebok and Asics step up activity in recent months.
Separately, Nike announced plans to bolster its roster of digital products, brand communications and e-commerce services as part of a broader push from Nike to shift the bulk of its marketing efforts to digital.
Mark Parker, president and chief executive of Nike, says: “We are just beginning to tap into the potential of digital technology, but we believe the opportunity to drive growth long-term is incredible, and we will be investing accordingly to capture that potential in product, in brand and e-commerce.”