The world's largest sportswear and athletic shoe company, Nike Inc, on Friday posted a 28 per cent leap in fourth quarter net income and a 12 per cent jump in full-year net profit to $663.3m compared to the year-ago period.

The Oregon-based company said its solid results were boosted by continued improvements in the US footwear market and international sales. It added that revenues for the fiscal year climbed eight per cent to $2.68 billion from $2.48bn in 2001. Fourth quarter net income surged 28 per cent to $208m.

The sportswear giant also revealed that worldwide futures orders are up seven per cent year-on-year to $4.6 billion, with future orders for Europe and Asia up 12 per cent, but just three per cent ahead for the US.

By region for the full-year, total US sales climbed two per cent to $4.9bn, with footwear sales down one per cent to $3.2bn, apparel revenues up four per cent to $1.3bn, and equipment revenues up 22 per cent to $426m.

In Europe, total sales grew six per cent to $2.7bn, with footwear revenues up nine per cent to $1.6bn, apparel and equipment sales up one and two per cent, respectively, to $990m and $190m.

Nike's full-year Asia Pacific revenues increased nine per cent to $1.2bn, with shoe sales up four percent to $658m, apparel revenues ahead 15 per cent to $431ma and equipment revenues up 20 per cent to $123m.

In the Americas, sales climbed five per cent to $568m from $539m in 2001, with shoe sales up one per cent to $359m, apparel revenues up 10 per cent to $167m and equipment revenues up 32 per cent to $42m.

Nike chairman and CEO, Philip Knight, said: "Our fiscal year 2002 results show that we continue our progress toward becoming the global company we aspire to be. We enjoyed growth across footwear, apparel and equipment in each of our international regions.

"Equally important, we delivered significant improvement in our USA results by reinvigorating our USA footwear business, reducing inventory, and building a solid foundation in our apparel business."

He added: "These results, along with margin expansion and expense control, contributed to delivering 14 per cent earnings per share growth. Given the challenges of this past year, these results are very gratifying.

"Our international futures orders grew ten percent, while we also delivered our fourth consecutive quarter of positive US futures orders. These results are solid evidence that our strong product cycle continues."