Nike Was a Standout Theme in Retail Earnings This Week

Earnings for the fourth quarter are in full swing — and one brand name has been dominating the results thus far: Nike.

Executives from Foot Locker, Hibbett Sports and Dick’s Sporting Goods have all spent time in their calls with investors discussing the Swoosh’s impact on their businesses. In some cases, retailers touted a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with Nike. In others, the opposite was the case.

Nike is widely considered an essential brand for a retailer’s assortment. However, the Swoosh has recently gone all-in on an aggressive DTC strategy that has led it to terminate wholesale accounts with retailers like Zappos, Dillard’s, DSW, Urban Outfitters, Shoe Show and more. Nike has also cut back on the amount of product it is offering in existing vendors in order to consolidate distribution.

The latter scenario was was the situation described in the most recent earnings report for Foot Locker. In late February, the footwear retailer posted a bleak outlook for 2022, largely due to the impact of one of Nike making an “accelerated strategic shift to DTC.”

Foot Locker said as a result, no single vendor will represent more than 55% of total supplier spend, down from 65% last year. The company also posted a bleak outlook for 2022, which anticipates sales falling between 4% and 6% and same-store sales falling by 8% to 10%.

On the other hand, retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Hibbett Sports that have managed to remain essential channels of distribution for Nike have gained share.

Dick’s Sporting Goods’ CEO Lauren Hobart called out the company’s relationship with Nike, saying that the “incredibly strategic” partnership is “an all-time high.” She added that Nike products made up 17% of sales at Dick’s in 2021.

In addition to receiving a regular flow of product from Nike, Dick’s recently launched a new connected partnership with Nike that 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.

Hibbett also forecasted tailwinds to its business last week in the wake of Nike’s recent actions to further limit the amount of product it distributes to third party stores.

“A number of other undifferentiated retailers lost the ability to buy and distribute product from our major brand partners,” said Hibbett CEO and president Mike Longo. “We have a lot of confidence that it is a tailwind to the business.”

Nike is set to report Q3 earnings on March 21.

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