Further online gains make Nike consider store strategy

Nike's online sales rose 82 per cent during the three months to 31 August, offsetting falling store revenue due to the pandemic.

The latest results follow a 75 per cent online sales increase in the previous quarter.

While the US sportswear giant did not provide a figure for store sales, overall first quarter revenue came in at £8.3 billion, as many of its key markets recovered since lockdown restrictions eased.

The company has been pivoting towards a direct-to-consumer strategy - while reducing its store presence and wholesale partners - in recent years, with the pandemic seeing an acceleration of these plans.

Earlier this year, when most of the world was in lockdown, Nike released limited edition products and offered interactive workouts and games through its website and app.

Nike’s long-time chief executive Mark Parker stepped down earlier this year, replaced by board member John Donahoe, who has led the D2C shift.

“We know that digital is the new normal - the consumer today is digitally grounded and simply will not revert back,” he stated.

Last year, Nike warned dozens of independent retailers that it would stop supplying them by 2021, with plans to generate at least half of sales through its own stores and e-commerce platform, in order to increase profit margins and gain more control over its distribution.

Commenting on the news, LiveArea's commerce consulting director for EMEA Elliott Jacobs, said that with high demand for 'athleisure' wear during lockdown, Nike used its website and apps to build close relationships with customers no longer visiting its stores.

"Not only this, but the sportswear brand also pulled back from online retailers last year, such as Amazon, to dial down on delivering outstanding digital experiences and personalised content to its loyal customers, and this is now reaping rewards.

“Nike saw the lockdown and accompanying store closures as an opportunity to accelerate its digital potential, realising years’ worth of transformation in a matter of weeks."

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