Photo via Nike
SNEAKERS & FASHION

Women’s Sports, Jordan Brand Are Lifting Nike to New Heights

The Swoosh posted the highest quarterly revenue number in its 50-year history: $12.3 billion.

If there was ever any question about who remains the king of sneakers and sporting apparel, Nike’s latest quarterly financial reporting ended that debate with a nice $44.5 billion mic drop.

No matter how much customer unrest over the surge of resellers online (or the seemingly daily memes of users losing on the SNKRs app), Nike still has the game in a chokehold. The company reported this week their earnings nearly doubled year-to-year in the last quarter of its 2021 fiscal year – a period ending on May 31 – up 96% to $12.8 billion.

That swell helped push the year-over-year sales gain for the company to 19%, bringing their total revenue for the year to the $44.5 billion number.

But it wasn’t just the Swoosh that continues to grow. In 2020, Jumpman, well… jumped, and has continued to do so into 2021 as well. Michael Jordan’s famous brand soared in this fiscal year, with its revenue jumping 31% for the year, bringing in $4.7 billion, outperforming the company’s previously reported projections.

This all comes after a 15% gain last year despite the COVID-19 pandemic dragging down other divisions of the company. Fortunately, Jordan Brand’s continued investment in women’s gear turned out to be a coup with regards to growth, and that commitment is getting a double-down. Just last week, Jordan added 11 more WNBA players to its roster, producing its largest women’s roster ever.

In fact, Nike saw greater revenue growth from women’s sports across its portfolio than men’s over the course of Q4.

Though the bottom line has been glorious for the Swoosh and the Jumpman, the last year has not been without its complications. Bloomberg exposed a notorious reseller’s connection to the company, and Nike’s vice president and general manager for North America stepped down conspicuously just days after she was outed as the reseller’s mother. The company lost its contract with Kobe Bryant’s estate when the Laker legend’s widow chose not to renew it. (Vanessa Bryant has vocally opposed reseller culture online.) Simone Biles left, too, and Jordan Brand was not without controversy of its own.

Still, all of coupled with general unrest over resellers gobbling up sneaker stock online and hiking up prices secondhand has not slowed Nike’s dominance. If nothing else, it’s only left them hungrier to retool and improve top to bottom – and the numbers don’t lie. Tripling revenue from your women’s apparel business in a single quarter is absolutely eye-popping.

At this rate, 2021 could end up being Nike’s biggest year ever. And it’s quite possible that game-changing bets on the power of women’s sports could be the single biggest reason why.

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