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UK stockists angered by Nike’s retail ambitions

Nike is plotting a significant roll-out of its retail concept in the UK but the plan has already upset some stockists.

The sportswear brand told Drapers it was gearing up to open 10 stores during the next year, starting in Liverpool. Nike is also believed to have signed up for a unit in London’s Neal Street, and secured sites in Manchester, Bluewater in Kent and in Westfield’s White City scheme in west London.

The roll-out is understood to have been prompted by a desire to take back brand control after a period of prolonged discounting within the UK sportswear market.

However, some Nike stockists were concerned the new stores would divert their sales and footfall.

One Nike stockist said: “Nike is really screwing its partners by looking to increase retail. It wants complete control of the brand. I’ll be cutting back on the product and lessening my dependency on it, so when the retail kicks off in 18 months time, I’ll be well clear.”

Another stockist told Drapers: “This move will have a detrimental affect on my sales. The Nike brand doesn’t need any more exposure. We will carry on as normal and if we see a difference in sales we will cut the budget and spend elsewhere.”

A spokesman for Nike said the brand remained committed to its wholesale stockists. He said: “Any Nike store is the continuation of the overall strategy and that includes wholesale partners who are essential to our success. The stores will raise the brand’s presence and visibility.”

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