precio nike air max 90 Nike Decides Not to Do Business With Sears
NIKE’S decision to stop selling its sneakers and clothes at Sears is shining a spotlight on the impact retail environments have on marketers’ brands.
Though the companies themselves have said little about the move, retail analysts quickly pronounced it a result of the Kmart Holding Corporation’s $12 billion acquisition of Sears, Roebuck Company in March.
Nike may have feared that its products would wind up for sale at Kmart, a discount chain, analysts said. If not, Nike may still have worried that Sears Holdings, the company that resulted from the Kmart Sears combination, would undermine Nike’s image.
When Sears Holdings was formed, its chief executive, Alan J. Lacy, said that the new company would offer a complete shopping solution. “Shoppers will have greater access to the leading proprietary brands of both Kmart and Sears,” Mr. Lacy said. Kmart stores, for example, would be able to sell products once exclusive to Sears, like Craftsman tools and Kenmore appliances.
In sum, Nike spent an estimated $220 million last year to advertise in major United States media, according to TNS Media Intelligence. It is also the runaway sales leader in its chief category. With about $3.2 billion in wholesale footwear sales last year, Nike represented 36.3 percent of the nation’s $8.9 billion branded athletic shoe market, according to Sporting Goods Intelligence. Its next closest competitor, Reebok, had 12.2 percent of that market.
Sears, which sold Nike shoes primarily aimed at women and children, will suffer the loss of the swoosh more than Nike will miss the department store, said John J. Shanley, senior athletic and footwear industry analyst at the Susquehanna Investment Group.
Joani Komlos, a spokeswoman at Nike in Beaverton, Ore., called the company’s decision a brand management matter. “The decision was made based on what we felt was best for the brand,” she said,
declining to elaborate.
Lee Antonio, a spokeswoman at Sears Holdings in Hoffman Estates, Ill., declined to address outsiders’ explanations for the Nike pullout. “We were surprised and, although we are disappointed, we respect their brand decision,” she said. “We plan to continue talking to Nike, as our customers feel strongly about the Nike brand.”
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Ms. Antonio noted that Sears continues to carry shoes from companies including Reebok, New Balance, Adidas and Skechers.
“Advertisers are learning that where they sell their products has tremendous effects,” said Robert K. Passikoff, president at Brand Keys in New York, a brand and customer loyalty consultant. “Where your product values are reinforced by the venue, you will see higher levels of consideration.”
In a Brand Keys index that tracks retailer characteristics like merchandise selections, shopping experiences and store reputations, Sears stores score above average but have lost ground over the last five years, Mr. Passikoff said.
Not every branding expert found wisdom in the Nike withdrawal.
“It is surprising and incredibly short sighted of Nike to pull their sneakers from Sears,” said Debbie Millman, president of the New York office of the Sterling Group. “This would have been the perfect opportunity to leverage the idea of a ‘specially designed’ sneaker for the retailer in an effort to capitalize on the current design led economy we are living in, which is a good part of what is currently differentiating Target.”
Nike has happily sold its sneakers to Wal Mart since March, but only a swoosh free brand called Starter. It plans to monitor the results of its Wal Mart deal for a while before deciding whether to expand the strategy to other chains. The company expects to stop shipping to Sears in October, meaning that the products will stay on Sears shelves through the end of the year.
Sears has survived without Nike before; the shoemaker cut Sears out for much of the 1990’s before relenting and signing a new sales agreement in 1999. That agreement expired this year.
And even without Nike, Sears will still sell an abundance of nationally advertised products supplied by outside companies, like Compaq computers, Bosch appliances and Russell Athletic clothes.
But Nike is unlikely to relent in the near term, said John G. Horan, publisher at Sporting Goods Intelligence. “Nike has always had a very keen understanding of its brand image,” he said. “It has been very uncompromising about that for years. This is the same thing all over again.”