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September 30, 2022

Nike launches JD Sports partnership despite wider direct to consumer strategy

Sports apparel brand Nike Inc has partnered with sports retailer JD Sports on a members-only rewards programme but Nike continues to focus on its Direct to Consumer (DTC) strategy.

By Shemona Safaya

Nike has announced JD Sports will be its first European retail partner for its Connected Partnership, which aims to enhance the customer shopping experience with access to an additional range of Nike member-exclusive products and experiences.

However, commenting on Nike’s latest results, GlobalData managing director Neil Saunders highlights the company is continuing with its transfer of business from wholesale to direct, as part of its Consumer Direct Acceleration strategy.

The new Connected Partnership is expected to harness the two companies’ technological and digital expertise to serve consumers in a more convenient and rewarding way. It is also said to highlight their ability to provide a compelling and differentiated proposition both in-store and online through a deep understanding of their consumers.

“In terms of partners that Nike are working with, they’re working with less but more important partners and we intend to be one of those landmark partners,” Sherilyn Paterson, JD Sports’ group merchandising director, said.

Régis Schultz, CEO of JD Sports, added: “This mutually beneficial partnership enhances our strong customer connections through best-in-class retail experiences and early access both in store and online to a select range of additional Nike products.”

Meanwhile, Nike vice president and general manager EMEA, Carl Grebert, said: “Nike’s brand is amplified when we work with like-minded partners to serve those who love sport. Linking up with JD enables us to further extend the best selection of innovative sport performance and lifestyle footwear and apparel from Nike, with the power of digital and physical retail.”

JD Sports customers will be able to link their JD and Nike membership accounts through the JD mobile app and this will unlock priority access to select Nike member-exclusive products, experiences and offers.

Nike launched a similar partnership programme in the US last November with Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc.

However, Emily Salter, apparel analyst at Global Data explained in June that Nike’s direct-to-consumer (DTC) focus has been key to its success and has aided the brand in building strong shopper loyalty through its multiple touchpoints with consumers, such as through its apps, podcast, direct marketing, and now in the metaverse.

This week Nike revealed cost increases have impacted its first-quarter profits (Q1) with it reporting a 22% fall to US$1.47bn despite a 4% jump in revenues to $12.7bn.

Earlier this month, JD Sports issued a warning for the second half of the year after recording a decline in earnings for the 26 weeks ended 30 July. In its first-half results, pre-tax profits amounted to GBP298.3m (US$337m), down from GBP364.6m a year earlier.

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