Business Insider reports that Nike will open up to 200 stores in the United States and Europe, including its upcoming Nike Unite store in Downtown Silver Spring.
The stores, which offer digital technology – such as self-checkout through the Nike app and in-store pickup for online orders – will play a key role in Nike’s direct-to-consumer efforts.
Nike CEO John Donahoe announced the store plan during the company’s quarterly earnings call in 2020. “I would characterize this investment in these new doors as continued investment in our digital future,” Donahoe said. “With soft goods like apparel, they may want to reserve it online and try it on in the store. They may want to be in a store and buy something that is not in the store because of inventory, and the associate uses a digital device to buy it and gets shipped home. And so consumers increasingly want a consistent, seamless physical and digital experience, and so that’s what we’re committed to providing.”
According to Business Insider, new stores are planned for Louisville, Kentucky; Lexington, Kentucky; Liverpool, England; Harlem in New York City; and Fresno, California, in addition to the Downtown Silver Spring location. Nike employees have posted on social media, indicating that stores will open in Washington, D.C., the North Bronx in New York City, and near Salt Lake City.
Nike is also hiring for positions in corporate real estate and in-store positions. In addition to the North America real estate finance manager position, the company has recently hired a real-estate business development specialist and a real-estate marketplace development specialist to assist with its “multi-year growth strategy.”
There are challenges and critics to the plan, including boutique retailers that have lost Nike accounts and Nike technology employees who claim their jobs have been lost to restructuring, according to the Business Insider report. However, Nike officials remain optimistic about its direct-to-consumer plans. The company’s CFO Matt Friend noted at the company’s recent annual shareholder meeting that Nike’s gross margin – a metric closely watched by Wall Street – has increased by 2.6 percentage points to 46% in the past two years. “Fundamentally, the Consumer Direct Acceleration strategy is changing our financial and operating model resulting in healthy profitable growth for Nike,” Friend said.
The Nike Unite store is set to open in November at 910 Ellsworth Drive in Downtown Silver Spring.
Photo by David Lay
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