How a Strategic Partnership With Nike Is Helping Dick’s Sporting Goods Secure More Crucial Inventory

Amid record high inflation and footwear inventory shortages, Dick’s Sporting Good’s has a secret weapon: Nike.

Via an existing supplier relationship and a new digital partnership, Dick’s is benefitting from a strong connection to one of the hottest athletic brands around. Unlike Dick’s, many other retailers such as Zappos, Dillard’s, DSW, Urban Outfitters, and Shoe Show have had their wholesale accounts terminated by Nike in recent months.

“Dick’s is on the good list of most, if not all, key vendors,” said Williams Trading analyst Sam Poser in a note. “As such, Dick’s is getting key product well in a more timely manner than competitors, and will continue to do so into 2022.”

new connected partnership with Nike is helping Dick’s — which will receive FN’s retailer of the year award next week — secure this inventory. The deal, announced earlier this month announced allows Dick’s Scorecard and Nike Membership members to connect their accounts. Via the Dick’s mobile app, customers can browse member-exclusive Nike footwear and apparel and participate in high-heat drops.

“With this Nike connected membership, we have access to even higher heat products than we had before,” said Dick’s CEO Lauren Hobart in a call with investors. “So yes, we’re getting a better allocation than we did in the past.”

Overall, the new digital connection further enhances the already strong partnership between the two companies.

“The new relationship with Nike will drive share gain for Dick’s, as some of the exclusively available products, such as the Air Force One and Blazer, are items more normally found at athletic specialty retailers, not sporting goods retailers,’ Poser wrote in an earnings preview.

The new partnership, which encourages more shoppers to download the Dick’s app, also allows for data sharing between both databases. This means that both Nike and Dick’s can create a “much more personalized and enriching experience for our combined athletes,” Hobart said.

The partnership between Dick’s and Nike is so strong, that analysts are suggesting it could threaten the performance of other retailers that also sell Nike.

In discussing Foot Locker’s latest earnings, Poser said that Foot Locker is losing market share, as companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Hibbett, and JD Sports “appear to be getting more love than FL by the major vendors.”

“In the long term, we believe that Foot Locker will continue to shrink, and lose clout with Nike,” Poser said.

According to Hobart, Dick’s is pursuing additional ways to work with Nike moving forward, further solidifying the bond between the two brands.

“Our companies have a long and successful history of working together, and this demonstrates a deepening of the DICK’S and Nike relationship,” Hobart said. “This partnership is aimed at driving growth for both companies while serving our customers in a personalized way.”

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