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Nike shares soar as digital sales power results

Shares of Nike sprinted to a record high at the start of trading Wednesday, propelling the broader Dow index. Wall Street cheered the athletic brand’s quick rebound from a $790 million surprise loss a quarter ago to a profit of $1.5 billion.

Digital was its savior, especially in North America. Quarterly sales through Nike’s website and app surged 82%, helping offset the decline in sales at its physical stores as people stayed home. Online sales of Air Maxes and other shoes helped profit and revenue breeze past Wall Street’s targets.

That had analysts scrambling to raise their price targets on the stock Wednesday morning. Nike’s results are a sharp turnaround from the spring, when the athletic apparel retailer’s brick-and-mortar sales suffered as malls and department stores were shuttered around the world. Nike then turned its focus to direct sales to consumers.

Nike CEO John Donahoe said, “We know that digital is the new normal.” The company now forecasts that its half sales in the second half of 2020 would be “up significantly.”

Nike’s financial performance also encouraged investors to snap up shares of its German rivals, Adidas and Puma.