Nike digital strategy kicks independent sellers

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A sports store in the Bronx was left in the dust after Nike announced it was cutting ties with the family-owned business after more than four decades to focus on digital sales and company-owned stores.

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Moe Stein, the owner of Frank’s Sport Shop, called the move a "complete surprise" after making "in excess of $10,000,000 in business with them" throughout 40-plus years of being a Nike dealer.

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"The initial reaction hurt," Stein told FOX Business. "You bring a girl to the prom, and then she decides to just walk away from you halfway through the evening without an explanation."

Bathgate/East Tremont, The Bronx, Creator: Pat Arnow [email protected] Pat Arnow 2012

The sports shop had been family operated since 1921. Since then, the company has served the local community — which includes sending out personal protection equipment to various city services and agencies during the pandemic –  and even supplying goods and services to nearly all of the Major League Baseball teams.

In the early 1970s, the shop had even become one of the earlier Nike dealers in New York City after Stein found the company at a trade show.

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However, on Sept. 23, Frank's got a notice from Nike stating that the shop "no longer aligns with our distribution strategy."

According to a copy of the letter obtained by FOX Business, the account with Nike will be closed on Nov. 23.

(Bathgate/East Tremont, The Bronx, Creator: Pat Arnow [email protected] Pat Arnow 2012)

"From and after the date of this letter, Nike will accept no new orders (inclusive of Nike and Brand Jordan products) and will also cancel any outstanding orders," the letter read.

The shop was also asked to cease using any "Nike or Jordan graphics, fixtures, or other marketing assets in connection with your business from that date moving forward."

The letter, "reflects a definitive final decision by the company," according to the letter.

Nike told FOX Business in a statement Monday that the company has a "bold vision to create the marketplace of the future, one closely aligned with what consumers want and need. "

As a result, and as "part of our recently announced Consumer Direct Acceleration strategy, we are doubling down on our approach with Nike Digital and our owned stores, as well as a smaller number of strategic partners who share our vision to create a consistent, connected and modern shopping experience," the company said.

The new strategy by the athletic-wear giant is not just impacting smaller retailers. In August, it was revealed Nike would no longer have its products available at major retailers such as Belk, Dillard’s, Zappos, Boscov’s, Bob’s Stores, Fred Meyer and EBLens.

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However, the Nike move hasn't shaken Stein who reiterated that they have been in business for "98-plus years, through depressions, wars, and many companies being King one day and gone the next."

Although the company will survive, he said, "there is genuine hurt on a personal level."

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