Nike logoNike's (NKE) fourth-quarter profit rose by more than 50%, helped by sales gains in China and other emerging markets, as well as gross margin expansion, the company said late Wednesday.

For the three months ended May 31, Nike reported net income of $521.9 million, or $1.06 a share, up from $341.4 million, or 70 cents, booked in last year's fourth quarter. Analysts, on average, forecast earnings of $1.05 a share, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

Revenue increased 8% to $5.08 billion from $4.71 billion a year ago, coming up short of Wall Street's outlook for $5.14 billion in sales. More full-priced selling allowed gross margin, or the difference between sales and cost of goods sold, to expand by 4 percentage points. Nike ended the quarter with a 13% reduction in year-over-year inventories.

Worldwide orders for future delivery, a closely watched measure of demand, rose 7%, the Beaverton, Ore., company said. Shares in Nike closed almost unchanged ahead the earnings release, adding 6 cents, or less than 0.1%, to $72.52.

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