• Q1 net profit fractionally up at US$513m
  • Revenues down 12% to $4.8bn
  • Expenses cut by 17%

Sportswear giant Nike held steady with a first quarter net profit of US$513m, fractionally up on last year's figures, as cost-cutting made up for falling sales.

Revenues fell 12%, or 7% excluding currency effects, to $4.8bn, with markets in all parts of Europe suffering most during the economic downturn.

Revenues in North America fell 5% to $1.8bn, but western Europe was down 18% to $1.1bn, and central and eastern Europe plunged 33% to $286m.

Greater China revenues fell 16% to $416m, Japan was flat at $186m and emerging markets were down 8% to $422m.

Sales for Nike's other businesses, including Cole Haan, Converse, Hurley International, Nike Golf and Umbro, declined 5% to $604m.

And the company said futures orders for the period to January 2010 were down 6% on last year at $6.2bn, with central and eastern Europe again hardest hit.

However, Nike said cost reductions had slashed selling, general and administration expenses by 17% to $1.55bn.

"We delivered a good start to the fiscal year," said company president and CEO Mark Parker.

"These results illustrate that the emotion of sports, combined with innovative product, strong brands and premium retail experiences, can make powerful connections to consumers, even in challenging times."

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