Nike CEO: the athlete of the year was...Lance Armstrong

At yesterday's annual meeting of shareholders in Oregon, Nike chairman and CEO Philip H. Knight - he with the swoosh tattoo on his ankle - revealed better than expected trading results and he put some of the success down to Lance Armstrong's Live Strong yellow wristbands. Nike made no money from sales of the bands but they generated "a buzz", said Nike.
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Nike Inc. boosted profits 25 percent in Q1, earning $1.21 per share, or $326.8m, for the quarter ending August 31st, compared with 98 cents a share, $261.2m, for the same period last year.

Sales were up 18 percent to $3.56bn from $3bn.

At the AGM, Nike executives extoled the achievements of Nike-sponsored athletes such as Serena Williams but then Knight interrupted from stage left, mock-chiding his cohorts: "Whoa, whoa, guys are doing a great job, but occasionally you need some coaching. You missed the story of the year. The story of the year without a doubt was...Lance Armstrong.''

The great man himself then appeared, bringing the house down.

Nike spokeswoman Joani Komlos said the company has sold 12 million of the Live Strong bands, at $1 a pop, and that whilst Nike made no money from the sales - all monies go straight to the Lance Armstrong Foundation - the buzz the bands benefitted Nike.

Some US and UK IBDs also benefitted from increased foot traffic thanks to the bands, attracting customers who wouldn't otherwise venture into bike shops.

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