Sporting goods giant Nike Inc. reported a 12.7 drop in earnings to $377.2 million (£198 million) for the first quarter to 31 August. Sales rose 8.6 percent to $4.2 billion. The fall in earnings was largely due to the expensing of stock options, the Oregon-based company said. Not including these expenses, earnings fell 3 percent. Sales were driven by growth in all of Nike products' regional markets, especially Asia-Pacific and the Americas , which both grew 13 percent. Europe saw sales increase 4 percent to $1.3 billion. Footwear sales there fell 1 percent to $679.5 million, while apparel sales rose 12 percent to $487.0 million and equipment revenues gained 7 percent to $104.4 million. Pre-tax earnings for the region declined 8 percent to $302.5 million. A company spokesman declined to comment.

The group's other businesses, which include Converse, Nike Golf, Nike Bauer Hockey and Cole Haan Holdings Inc, also witnessed growth. "We're off to a strong start," Nike president and chief executive Mark Parker said in a statement. "While making major brand investments to drive key markets and implementing new accounting rules to include stock option expenses, we continued to deliver strong top line growth and laid the foundation for another successful year."

 

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