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Jefferies Downgrades Nike; Wholesale and China Pressures Expected to Constrain Stock Performance

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Jefferies Downgrades Nike, Citing Wholesale and China Pressures

Jefferies, a leading financial services company, has downgraded Nike due to near-term challenges that could impact the sports retailer. Analyst Randal Konik lowered Nike's rating from buy to hold and reduced the price target from $140 to $100, indicating a potential 10.1% upside from Friday's closing price.

Wholesale Channel and Consumer Spending Concerns

Konik's downgrade is based on the belief that Nike's wholesale channel will continue to face pressure, and the company's growth in China may encounter macroeconomic headwinds. The analyst also highlights the results of a consumer survey, indicating that US consumers are likely to reduce spending, particularly in the apparel and footwear sectors. This reduction in consumer spending could pose additional challenges for Nike.

Impact on Revenue and Margins

As a result of these concerns, Konik has lowered his revenue and earnings-per-share estimates for fiscal 2024 to $52.1 billion and $3.45, respectively. These estimates are lower than the consensus figures. While Nike has improved its retail inventory levels, Jefferies predicts that tight inventory management until at least the end of 2023 could lead to reduced orders and weigh on the company's wholesale channel. However, Nike's focus on increasing direct-to-consumer sales penetration is expected to expand margins over time, despite the potential slowdown in consumer spending. In addition to the challenges in the US market, Jefferies points out that Nike's growth in China could be "choppy" due to the recent slowdown in apparel retail sales in the country. The firm expects 7% growth in fiscal year 2024, compared to the consensus estimate of 12%. The survey results also indicate that consumers with student debt are concerned about meeting their monthly expenses, leading to a preference for cheaper alternatives in apparel and footwear. Konik's downgrade comes ahead of Nike's fiscal first-quarter earnings report, scheduled for Thursday. Analysts anticipate a profit of 76 cents per share on revenue of $13.02 billion. Nike's stock has struggled this year, experiencing a decline of over 22%, making it the second worst-performing member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. In conclusion, Jefferies' downgrade reflects concerns about Nike's near-term performance, particularly in the wholesale channel and the Chinese market. The impact of reduced consumer spending and the preference for cheaper alternatives in apparel and footwear adds further headwinds for the company. Investors will closely monitor Nike's upcoming earnings report to gauge its financial performance and future prospects.

Implications of Jefferies' Downgrade of Nike for New Business Formation

The recent downgrade of Nike by financial services company Jefferies could have significant implications for new businesses in the sports retail sector. Analyst Randal Konik's decision to lower Nike's rating from buy to hold, based on pressures in the wholesale channel and potential macroeconomic headwinds in China, paints a challenging picture for startups in this industry.

Consumer Spending and Wholesale Challenges

Konik's downgrade highlights the potential for decreased consumer spending in the apparel and footwear sectors. For new businesses, this suggests a need for strategic planning to navigate a potentially reduced consumer spending environment. Furthermore, the continued pressure on the wholesale channel, as indicated by Jefferies, could pose challenges for new businesses relying on this channel for distribution.

Revenue Impact and Market Dynamics

Konik's lowered revenue and earnings-per-share estimates for fiscal 2024 underscore the potential financial challenges that new businesses in the sector may face. The anticipated slowdown in consumer spending, coupled with tight inventory management, could lead to reduced orders and impact revenue for startups.

China Market and Consumer Preferences

Jefferies' prediction of "choppy" growth for Nike in China due to a slowdown in apparel retail sales signals potential difficulties for new businesses planning to enter or expand in this market. Additionally, the shift in consumer preferences towards cheaper alternatives in apparel and footwear, as indicated by the survey results, could influence the product strategies of new businesses. In essence, Jefferies' downgrade of Nike provides valuable insights for new businesses in the sports retail sector. The anticipated challenges in consumer spending, wholesale distribution, and market dynamics in China could shape the strategic decisions and growth trajectories of startups in this industry.
Story First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/25/jefferies-downgrades-nike-says-wholesale-and-china-pressures-will-keep-stock-in-check.html
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