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Nike earnings slide as the megabrand struggles

(NEWS) The big parts of the economy machine are moving – What do Nike’s movements say about the economy machine as a whole?




Just do it… or don’t

Nike (NYSE:NKE) announced its fiscal third quarter earnings on Tuesday March 21. The footwear maker beat consensus estimate of $0.53EPS (earnings per share), by earning $0.68 EPS instead. That is $0.15 more than market predictions.

However, its revenue earnings of $8.43 billion fell short of market expectations, hedged at $8.47 billion instead.

The descent

This revenue failure has offset any positive news coming from its EPS performance. On March 22, the day after the earnings declarations, Nike’s stock fell by 7%.

It has recovered only partially since, mostly by bargain hunters rather than strong confidence in its shares.

The athletic brand’s revenue actually grew by 5%, but the market seemed unimpressed. In Q3-2016, Nike’s rate was 7.7%. Their growth figures mostly came from overseas. Sales in emerging markets is up by 13%, especially in Greater China (8%).

In the US, a very competitive market, sales were up only 4%.

The recent earnings report clearly shows Nike has pressured sales growth, 16% off its lifetime high.

Working through it

Analysts were also quick to raise doubts about the sports brand’s “low quality” EPS growth.

Nike’s growth came not from increased sales, but due to other intervening factors.

For instance, they took advantage of a low 13.8% tax rate, and more than half of its revenue came from low-tax regions, and places with other tax benefits.

Many analysts now see a downward trend in Nike’s gross margin, which keeps falling consistently every quarter.

In the latest earnings call, the athletic powerhouse announced a decline of 140 basis points.
It is now clear that Nike could not shake off completely the ailing factors that it struggled to manage all throughout 2016—inventory challenges (over-stocked and under-sold) leading to discounts, and competition (chiefly from Adidas and Under Armor) taking away its American market share.

Market woes

This is especially worrisome for the company, as the brand’s future orders declined 4% as per reports.

Almost half of Nike’s revenue comes from the U.S. market and success at home is crucial.

The swoosh company has provided soft sales growth outlook for fourth quarter, indicating lower revenues than third quarter sales.

This, more than anything else, threatens the footwear giant’s future earnings growth potential.

Nike’s earnings figures may improve once the company adjusts its vast inventory in what the company has labeled as “edit to amplify” step.
It plans to cut 25% of its product line and focus instead on 75% of its products that bring in 99% of sales.

Plan of attack

Nike also plans to cut its product creation cycle by half, and invest more on direct-to-consumer sales, especially through digital offerings.

Nike saw a boost of e-commerce of 18%, which its CEO Mark Parker described as the “foundation” of the company’s future.

Moreover, international markets shall continue to grow for Nike, outpacing its competitors.

Comeback kid

Nike has faced challenges before but have beat back the competition.

For example, Nike’s stock fell 18% last year due to retail challenges and heightened competition. But it recovered its losses.

“Last year we were losing share in the basketball market in North America and now we’re taking it back,” said Trevor Edwards, Nike Brand president during the earnings call.

All hands on deck

On March 29, Nike insider Eric D. Sprunk sold 50,000 Nike shares, in an attempt to boost the stocks.

Other institutional investors have also recently bought shares of the stock, including DZ Bank, Carmignac Gestion, Norges Bank, and Russell Investments Group Ltd.

Brokerages and equity analysts seem divided on their verdict of Nike.

For example, Vetr cut Nike from a rating of “strong buy” to “buy” at a price target of $ 60.36, and then upgraded them back up to “strong buy” at $63.24.

B. Riley on the other hand, stuck with a “neutral” rating with a price target of $56.00.

11 equity research analysts rated the stock as “hold”, 3 as “sell” and 24 as “buy”. Nike seems to have a consensus price target of $61.38 with a “buy” rating.

For now

Although the stock market has been harsh on Nike for the last two weeks, Wall Street is putting its trust on it for now. While Wall Street does that, independent retailers use Nike’s performance metrics as a litmus test for their own.

On April 3rd, Nike opened at $55.73.


Barnil is a Staff Writer at The American Genius. With a Master's Degree in International Relations, Barnil is a Research Assistant at UT, Austin. When he hikes, he falls. When he swims, he sinks. When he drives, others honk. But when he writes, people read.

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Business News

Leadership versus management: What’s the difference?

(Business News) The two terms, leadership and management, are often used interchangeably, but there are substantial differences; let’s explore them.



leadership Startups meeting led by Black woman.

Some people use the terms “leader” and “manager” interchangeably, and while there is nothing inherently wrong with this, there is still a debate regarding their similarities or differences.

Is it merely a matter of preference, or are there cut and dry differences that define each term?

Ronald E. Riggio, professor of leadership and organizational psychology at Claremont McKenna College, described what he felt to be the difference between the terms, noting the commonality in the distinction of “leadership” versus “management” was that leaders tend to engage in the “higher” functions of running an organization, while managers handle the more mundane tasks.

However, Riggio believes it is only a matter of semantics because successful and effective leaders and managers must do the same things. They must set the standard for followers and the organization, be willing to motivate and encourage, develop good working relationships with followers, be a positive role model, and motivate their team to achieve goals.

He states that there is a history explaining the difference between the two terms: business schools and “management” departments adopted the term “manager” because the prevailing view was that managers were in charge.

They were still seen as “professional workers with critical roles and responsibilities to help the organization succeed, but leadership was mostly not in the everyday vocabulary of management scholars.”

Leadership on the other hand, derived from organizational psychologists and sociologists who were interested in the various roles across all types of groups.

So, “leader” became the term to define someone who played a key role in “group decision making and setting direction and tone for the group. For psychologists, manager was a profession, not a key role in a group.”

When their research began to merge with business school settings, they brought the term “leadership” with them, but the terms continued to be used to mean different things.

The short answer, according to Riggio is no, not really; simply because leaders and managers need the same skills to be productive and respected.

This editorial was first published here in June of 2014.

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Business News

Does Raising Cane’s have the secret to combatting restaurant labor shortages?

(NEWS) Fried Chicken Franchise, Raising Cane’s, has turned to an unusual source of front-line employees during the labor shortage- Their executives!



White paper sign with black text reading "Help Wanted."

I wouldn’t call myself a fried chicken aficionado or anything, but since chains are designed to blow up everywhere, I have experienced Raising Cane’s.

I’m pretty sure the Cane’s sauce is just barbecue mixed with ranch, but hey, when you’ve got a good idea, keep with it.

In the further pursuit of good ideas, the company has resorted to an intriguing method of boosting staff in a world where the lowest paid among us are still steadily dying of Covid, and/or choosing to peace out of jobs that they don’t find worth the infection risk.

Via Nation Restaurant News: “This is obviously a very tough time, so it was a joint idea of everybody volunteering together to go out there and be recruiters, fry cooks and cashiers —whatever it takes,” said AJ Kumaran, co-CEO and chief operating officer for the Baton Rouge, La.-based quick-service company, from a restaurant in Las Vegas, where he had deployed himself.”

The goal of this volunteer mission, which involves 250 of the 500 executives deployed working directly in service roles, is to bolster locations until 10,000 new hires can be made in both existing locations and locations planned to open.

It’s obvious that this is a bandaid move – execs exist for good reason, and in terms of sheer numbers (not to mention location and salary changes), this is hardly tenable long-term. But I can say this as someone who’s gone from retail to office, and back (and then forth…and then back again) several times – if this doesn’t keep everyone at the corporate level humble, and much more mindful of employees’ needs, nothing will.

The fast-food world is notorious for wonky schedules only going up a day before the week begins, broken promises on hours (both over and under), horrendous pay, and little to no defense of employee dignity in the face of customers with rank dispositions. With the wave of strikes (Nabisco, John Deere, IATSE) making the news, and lack of hazard pay/brutal physical attacks over mask mandates still very fresh in workers’ minds, smart companies are hipping themselves to the fact that “low level” employee acquisition and retention needs to be much more than the ‘work here or starve’ tactics that have served since the beginning of decades of wage stagnation. The best way for that fact to stay front-of-mind is to go out and live the truths behind it.

In Raising Cane’s case, the company also announced that they’re upping wages at all locations — to the tune of an actually not totally insulting $2 per hour, resulting in a starting wage of $15 and a managerial wage of $18.

Ideally, paying people more to cook, clean, and customer service all in one job will actually attract people back to fast food work. Seriously consider the fact that the people cleaning fast-food toilets are the same people making the food that goes into your mouth. The additional fact is that it’s better for everyone’s health when they’re paid enough to care about what they’re doing and stay healthy themselves.

Of course, one does also need to consider how much inflation has affected the price of goods and housing since the ‘fight for $15’ began almost a decade ago in 2012. Now, raising wages closer to the end point of multiple goods still might not be enough!

AJ Kumaran continued, “The chicken prices are through the roof. Logistics are very hard. Shipping is difficult. Simple things cups and paper napkins — everything is in shortage right now. Some are overseas suppliers and others domestic suppliers. Just in poultry alone, we have taken significant inflation.”

That’s global disruption for ya.

It remains to be seen whether this plucky move can save Raising Cane’s dark meat, but I’m very pro regardless. Send more top-earning employees into the trenches! No more executives with 0 knowledge of how the sausage sandwich gets made.

No more leading from behind.

Why not? What are ya? Chicken?

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Business News

Unify your remote team with these important conversations

(BUSINESS NEWS) More than a happy hour, consider having these poignant conversations to bring your remote team together like never before.



Woman working in office with remote team

Cultivating a team dynamic is difficult enough without everyone’s Zoom feed freezing halfway through “happy” hour. You may not be able to bond over margaritas these days, but there are a few conversations you can have to make your team feel more supported—and more comfortable with communicating.

According to Forbes, the first conversation to have pertains to individual productivity. Ask your employees, quite simply, what their productivity indicators are. Since you can’t rely on popping into the office to see who is working on a project and who is beating their Snake score, knowing how your employees quantify productivity is the next-best thing. This may lead to a conversation about what you want to see in return, which is always helpful for your employees to know.

Another thing to discuss with your employees regards communication. Determining which avenues of communication are appropriate, which ones should be reserved for emergencies, and which ones are completely off the table is key. For example, you might find that most employees are comfortable texting each other while you prefer Slack or email updates. Setting that boundary ahead of time and making it “office” policy will help prevent strain down the road.

Finally, checking in with your employees about their expectations is also important. If you can discuss the sticky issue of who deals with what, whose job responsibilities overlap, and what each person is predominantly responsible for, you’ll negate a lot of stress later. Knowing exactly which of your employees specialize in specific areas is good for you, and it’s good for the team as a whole.

With these 3 discussions out of the way, you can turn your focus to more nebulous concepts, the first of which pertains to hiring. Loop your employees in and ask them how they would hire new talent during this time; what aspects would they look for, and how would they discern between candidates without being able to meet in-person? It may seem like a trivial conversation, but having it will serve to unify further your team—so it’s worth your time.

The last crucial conversation, per Forbes, is simple: Ask your employees what they would prioritize if they became CEOs tomorrow. There’s a lot of latitude for goofy responses here, but you’ll hear some really valuable—and potentially gut-wrenching—feedback you wouldn’t usually receive. It never hurts to know what your staff prioritize as idealists.

Unifying your staff can be difficult, but if you start with these conversations, you’ll be well on your way to a strong team during these trying times.

This story was first published in November 2020.

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