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SAN FRANCISCO -- International sales, as well as a one-time tax rate benefit, gave Nike (NKE) - Get Free Report a big boost in the first quarter, pushing its profit well past Wall Street expectations.

The Beaverton, Ore.-based athletic-wear giant earned $569.7 million, or $1.12 a share, in the quarter, up from $377.2 million, or 74 cents a share, a year earlier. The gain includes a one-time tax rate benefit related to past foreign losses, which contributed 20 cents per share to earnings.

Nike's revenue grew to $4.66 billion from $4.19 billion in the same period last year. Changes in currency exchange rates increased growth by 3 percentage points.

Analysts had predicted a first-quarter profit of 87 cents a share, before the tax gain, on revenue of $4.58 billion.

Worldwide futures revenue, an indicator of deliveries over the next six months, jumped 11.5% to $5.9 billion.

"We're off to a strong start as our first-quarter results reflect the power of our brands as well as the strength and diversification of the Nike, Inc. portfolio," said Mark Parker, Nike's CEO. "We have an aggressive growth plan to achieve $23 billion in revenue by fiscal year 2011, and we're well on our way."

In the U.S., revenue climbed only 2% in the quarter to $1.64 billion from $1.6 billion the year before. But overseas, the company performed much better.

In the Europe region, which includes the Middle East and Africa, revenue jumped 16% to $1.48 billion from $1.27 billion a year earlier. Changes in currency exchange rates increased revenue growth by 7 percentage points.

For the Asia-Pacific region, first-quarter revenue surged 22% to $630.8 million from $518.4 million a year ago. Changes in currency exchange added 2 percentage points to revenue growth.

And in the Americas region, revenue climbed 15 percent to $279.5 million, up from $242.5 million a year ago. Currency exchange rates contributed 4 percentage points to growth.

Futures orders increased 3% in the U.S. and 17% in both Europe and the Asia-Pacific. Orders in the Americas grew 20%.

Nike also said Thursday that it will explore the sale of Nike Bauer Hockey, which it said doesn't align with its long-term growth priorities. The company expects any potential sale to be completed within the year.