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Sports Direct demands probe into Nike and Adidas

Sports Direct has called for an investigation into the dominance of certain ”must-have’” brands – namely Nike and Adidas – in the sportswear market.

It follows reports that Nike has warned independent retailers that it will stop supplying them by 2021.

Nike is believed to have told indies that they are “no longer aligned” with its distribution strategy. There are concerns fellow heavyweight Adidas could follow suit.

In a statement, Sports Direct said: “The sports industry has long been dominated by the ‘must-have’ brands such as Adidas. These ‘must-have’ brands hold an extremely strong bargaining position vis-à-vis the retailers within their supply networks and use their market power to implement market-wide practices aimed at controlling the supply and, ultimately, the pricing of their products.”

It claimed that tactics used by large sportswear brands include restricting products, withdrawing the supply of products and refusing to supply.

The Mike Ashley-owned retail group added that it has “long fought against” such practices.

Readers' comments (2)

  • How about an investigation into Four Marketing ( part owned by Ashley) pulling Stone Island from some long standing accounts when a new Flannels hits town ! People that live in glass houses .....

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  • Nike will not be the only brand to commit to a total DTC strategy, though I believe this will be a mistake for Nike and any other brands who feel that is the way forward, as once you've gone down that road, there is no way back.

    This is an arrogant and self absorbed style of management in my view. The public like objectivity from stores and want to brands with other brands to make an informed choice which is best for the consumer and brands in the short and long term. Selling solely from their own stores and website cannot offer that.

    I would urge anyone that has an account with Nike or with a brand that they suspect will go down a similar route, to contact their solicitor as legally to close an account down without sound reason could be judged as being illegal and be classed as Anti Competitive behaviour.

    Maybe anybody reading this article from the legal profession add their opinion on this subject?

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