Nike has announced the closure of two footwear distribution centres in favour of a new single location.

The Wilsonville, Oregon and Winchester, Tennessee footwear distribution centres will together be relocated to the greater Memphis area by 2008 in a move accepted on Sunday(17 September) when the sports brand's board of directors accepted senior management's recommendation for the change.

Nike said it is working with those employees impacted, specifically in Wilsonville, on relocation to the new facility or alternative career options at the company, and that a similar process would occur with the current Winchester, Tennessee facility once a final site is determined in the area.

It anticipates transferring nearly all of the 250 Winchester employees to its new facility, and is optimistic it will be able to offer other opportunities for the 232 full-time staff at Wilsonville.

The sports firm added that it would provide transition services for those unable to find a new position before the facilities close.
Nike vice president of US supply chain Nick Athanasakos said: "In order to remain competitive, this is the correct decision for Nike's continued long-term supply chain success, its retail customers and shareholders. We regret the varied impacts upon the dedicated employees and supportive Wilsonville community.

"However, to leave projected savings of $200m over 20 years on the table, and not reinvest in Memphis or retailer service, would jeopardise our future growth plans for the entire business."

The company said it anticipates greater operational efficiencies for both Nike and retailers from the closure, resulting in shared cost savings of US$200m in 20 years.

Nike plans to sell the Wilsonville facility with a lease-back agreement so that the new owner to secure its presence there until 2008 and perhaps longer, it added.