Nike to slash 1,400 jobs, cut sneaker styles in shakeup

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Nike wants to be more nimble on its feet.

The sneaker maker said Thursday that it plans to focus on the hottest-selling sneakers, slash the number of styles it offers and sell more shoes directly to customers online as part of a restructuring in which it also will cut about 1,400 jobs.

Nike said the moves will help it offer products to customers faster as it is facing increasing competition from smaller brands and premium labels. Another problem: The running and basketball shoes Nike is famous for may be outdated.

More people are choosing fashion over function, with sales of classic sneakers industry-wide climbing 26 percent last year, according to research from The NPD Group. Meanwhile, sales of running performance sneakers were flat and sales of basketball performance sneakers dropped, according to the same report.

“Nike missed the fashion shift away from performance basketball to retro,” said Matt Powell, the sports industry analyst at NPD. “They still have not caught up.”

Adidas, whose casual Stan Smith shoes have become popular again, has made a push to increase sales in the U.S. The German company said last month that first-quarter revenue in North America jumped 31 percent from a year before. And on the high end, Neiman Marcus noted to investors last week that sneakers, with an average retail price of $360 per pair, have become a significant business as shoppers focus on a more casual lifestyle.

“The increase in speed of innovation and delivery is a direct response to the expectations of today’s consumers,” analysts at Susquehana Financial Group said in a note about Nike’s moves.

Nike, known for its swoosh logo, will also make its sneaker-selling apps available in more countries at a time when online sales mean many big retailers and department stores are closing stores.

“We’re getting even more aggressive in the digital marketplace,” said CEO Mark Parker.

Nike said a main focus will be the 12 key cities in 10 countries that it expects to represent more than 80 percent of its projected growth through 2020. Those cities are New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Milan, Mexico City, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai and Beijing.

“It appears to us that everything Nike is working on is a brand-first story. If the initiatives don’t help the Nike brand, they do not happen,” the Susquehana analysts said.

They said customers will barely notice the decrease in styles given the breadth of options Nike offers.

But the shake-up, announced two weeks before Nike releases its financial results for the most recent quarter, seemed to make investors nervous. Its stock fell 3 percent to $52.90 on Thursday.

Christopher Svezia, a footwear and apparel analyst at Wedbush, said that when companies announce jobs cuts and restructuring ahead of earnings reports, it doesn’t typically bode well for how business is going. “We’ll learn more in two weeks,” he said.

Nike Inc., which is based in Beaverton, Oregon, said the layoffs represent about 2 percent of its 70,000 employees around the world. It declined to provide additional details about the cuts. The Susquehana analysts said they believed the jobs cuts are likely eliminating redundant back-office positions as a result of a consolidation of reporting segments.””

People walk by the Nike SoHo store, Thursday, June 15, 2017, in the SoHo neighborhood of New York. Nike said Thursday that it plans to sell more shoes directly to customers online as part of a restructuring in which it plans to cut about 1,400 jobs. It will also reduce the number of sneaker and clothing styles it makes by a quarter and focus on hot sellers. 

AP Photo/Michael Noble Jr.

Local News

Mayor gives two-year post-Hurricane Laura update

Local News

$3M more in FEMA money to be dedicated to Iowa, LaGrange high school repairs

Local News

Allen Parish a top district for one-year growth on LEAP test

Local News

OLQH students gather for long-standing tradition

life

Monica Smith’s teaching career began with Tiny Steps

Local News

Pro Watercross: National championships return to LC this weekend

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:What’s latest on our voting?

Crime

LaGrange student arrested for bringing gun to school

life

Mom’s school lunches look complicated, but they’re not

Local News

Entergy customers will pay $3.2 billion to reimburse company for repair costs

Local News

United Way to open Entergy Utility Assistance Program Wednesday

Local News

Low potential for tropical cyclone development in southwest Gulf

Crime

8/16: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

Elton water services to be shut off at 4 p.m. today

Crime

Sheriff: Teenager shot during Kinder back-to-school party

Crime

8/15: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Crime

LC man charged in Saturday shooting

Local News

Feds oppose unsealing affidavit for Mar-a-Lago warrant

Crime

BREAKING: Mother charged with murder after 6-month-old left in car five hours

Local News

LAPAW in dire need of fosters, donations

Local News

Voting machine debate: Conspiracies question integrity of elections

Local News

Heart for volunteerism at core of Care Help for 40 years

Local News

Impairment, speed suspected in fatal crash

Crime

8/14: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list