Sportswear giant Nike Inc has reported a 26 per cent hike in second-quarter profit boosted by strong sales in the Americas and good European exchange rates.

Net income was up to $261.9 million from to $179.1m in the same period of 2003 on an 11 per cent rise in revenues to $3.1 billion.

Beaverton, Oregon-based Nike said revenue in the Americas region was up 23 per cent to $189.3 million, while Asia Pacific revenue grew 17 per cent to $483.5 million.

European sales, which include the Middle East and Africa, rose 13 per cent to $961.1 million. US sales were up five per cent at $1.13 billion.

Nike chief financial officer Donald Blair said the company expects full-year revenue to be in the high single-digit or low double-digit range.

Speaking to analysts on a conference call, Nike founder and outgoing chief executive Philip Knight said he chose a company outsider to succeed him because the company's range of brands is set to become increasingly varied in the future.

William Perez, who will become Nike's CEO on 28 December, joins from consumer-products company SC Johnson & Son Inc.

Knight said that the company decided to look outside for its CEO as it needed somebody with an in-depth knowledge of handling a wide portfolio of brands.

Nike Inc, he said, would be focusing on the development of other brands than the core Nike one when pushing for future growth.

He added that the next six months will be a challenge for the company as it acclimatises to the power transition and that he will stay with Nike full-time during the period to aid the change.

Knight also said that he doesn't expect Perez to introduce any large-scale changes in his first few months in the position.