Athletic retailer Foot Locker, Nike's largest customer, says it could cut its planned purchases of Nike Inc high-end footwear and other products by between $150-250 million in 2003.

In a quarterly filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it expects to meet customer demand for marquee products with smaller purchases from its other key vendors.

Foot Locker had already told Nike of its intention to put more focus on moderately priced offerings and reduce the emphasis of its US business on higher-priced premium footwear.

Analysts estimate about 47 per cent of Foot Locker's $4.33 billion in sales in 2001 were accounted for by Nike products. For Nike, Foot Locker represents around 11 per cent of its worldwide sales.

Sales of expensive, high end trainers have faltered in the weak economy, while teenagers - a core market - have been spending their disposable income on items such as mobile phones and pagers instead of shoes.

If other retailers follow suit, Foot Locker's reduction of Nike's merchandise could lead to a wider market share loss for the shoemaker. Alternatively, it could be of benefit by forcing Nike to rethink its distribution policy.