Nike

(NKE) - Get Report

said after the market closed Thursday that its fourth-quarter net income rose 28% from the same period a year ago and that orders for the next six months should increase 7%.

Net income for the fourth quarter ended May 31 totaled $208 million, or 77 cents a share, versus $163 million, or 60 cents a share, for the same period in the previous year. Analysts polled by First Call had expected earnings of 75 cents a share. Fourth-quarter revenue reached $2.7 billion, an 8% increase from the $2.5 billion reported last year.

Nike said that looking ahead, worldwide orders for athletic footwear and apparel scheduled for delivery between June and November should total $4.6 billion, 7% higher than orders for the same period last year.

But Nike could see some hurdles ahead. Company officials on a conference call warned that first-quarter revenue could be lower than initial estimates due to close-out sales.

After several lackluster quarters, Nike's results have been improving thanks to an increase in sales of mid-priced footwear, that is, shoes in the $65 to $85 range.

Company officials said

Foot Locker

, its biggest retailer, told the company that they are reducing their dependence on high-end offerings. "We're disappointed in that," said one Nike official, adding that the is looking at alternative retail outlets.

Nike officials also said that some of their high-end models were "just not clicking on all cylinders," though it does have several football and other athletic shoes prices around $175 that have been doing well.

The company now does about 48% of its Nike brand business outside the U.S., but in fiscal 2003 Nike is expecting to do more than 50% of its business outside the U.S.

Shares of Nike closed up 4.8% to $51.42 in regular trading.