Nike ACG backing away from the U.S. specialty market

Nike ACG is not shutting down, despite rumors to the contrary, fueled in part by the company's decision to pull out of Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in 2005. Nike is, however, shifting its Nike ACG business focus here in the U.S.
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Nike ACG is not shutting down, despite rumors to the contrary, fueled in part by the company's decision to pull out of Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in 2005. Nike is, however, shifting its Nike ACG business focus here in the U.S.

According to Nate Tobecksen, communications manager for Nike, "In the U.S., there will be a shift from the apparel standpoint for Nike ACG. The footwear side of the business has not changed."

Beginning for Fall 2005, Nike ACG-branded apparel will be sold only in Niketown stores in the U.S. Specialty outdoor retailers will still be able to purchase Nike ACG footwear, as well as other Nike-branded product.

"We have opened up the menu of things our reps can offer to specialty dealers," says Tobecksen. "Retailers can now carry swoosh-branded products coming out of our running group, as well as yoga products."

Nothing changes for Nike ACG in either Europe or Asia, where business is very healthy, according to Tobecksen. The full ACG line will be shown at ispo in February.

SNEWS® View: We find it quite ironic that at the same time Nike ACG is backing off the Outdoor Retailer and U.S. market dance floor, adidas is busy jumping in with its own outdoor line. Knowing Nike, here is what we can tell you we believe is really going on. Each Nike's business unit (in the U.S., Asia and Europe) is run by a separate president who calls his own shots. The U.S division president has apparently decided ACG is not part of the plan here…for now. This inconsistency in the U.S. market in terms of commitment to the brand and to building it since the brand first launched decades ago is exactly why it has not succeeded here. It is certainly not because Nike doesn't have the design and technical talent on the squad, because it absolutely does. In Asia, ACG apparel and footwear sales are up and continuing to climb. In Europe, ACG apparel and footwear sales are booming. Here in the U.S., well, who knows? We do know that the U.S. management team — apparently now focused only on the Nike swoosh — has made a decision that will relegate ACG to the sporting goods market, Niketowns, and perhaps a few outdoor specialty stores that have done well with the footwear line in the past. And that's a shame because the product is good enough to succeed at the specialty level.

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