Nike and StichFix will be teaming up this spring to run a pilot, and the athletic retailer has also announced plans to extend a partnership with Amazon first announced earlier this year, according to reports from RetailDIVE. The moves come as the once-dominant athletics wear retailer is struggling to get a sales jump started in North America.
Nike saw its revenue up 4 percent in 2017 to $8.1 billion, but that was driven largely by strong sales in the Europe, Middle East, Africa, Greater China, Asia Pacific and Latin American regions, particularly in the sportswear and basketball categories. But, the situation was inverted in North America, with sales down 4 percent and inventories up 6 percent as of the end of November 2017.
“Though 2Q saw better than expected gross margin and international sales performances, the essential NA market saw further sales deceleration and a turn to contracting margins,” said Wedbush analyst Christopher Svezia. “[T]he dynamic of negatives outweighing the positives persists further into FY18 while we await the improved product pipeline.”
Jane Hali analysts, however, have noted Nike is on the right track with its push into experiential retail. A recent trip to Nike’s New York SOHO flaghip store featured stylized presentations in products pitched to women.
“JHA believes fashion is the future of athleisure,” the analysts said in a note, adding, “We see [Nike]’s innovation through new fabrics, messaging (i.e. inclusivity), digital and store experiences.”
That innovation seems to be carrying through into its partnerships, as Nike has announced a tie-in with StichFix that will see the two firms collaborate on offering Nike customers online styling and delivery options. The brand has also extended its partnership with Amazon, which saw Nike become one of the the first big names in retail to sign on as an official first-party vendor.
The Jane Hali team noted these pair-ups are elements of Nike’s general eTail upgrade.
“Their online experience is excellent across the various regions,” the analysts said. “Their app experience is also outstanding. We also believe their new loyalty program (NikePlus Unlocks) has been well executed and the perks are a bonus for loyal consumers. As we visit the stores across the US and Europe we find them to be a unique and a unified experience.”