(CBS NEWS)- Nike will stop selling its products through Amazon and instead focus on what it called “more direct, personal relationships” with customers, company officials announced Tuesday.
Anyone looking for Nike can still purchase items on the company website, its app, or at one of the thousands of brick-and-mortar stores where Nike has retail partnerships. The Nike-Amazon partnership was a pilot program that began more than two years ago and is no longer part of Nike’s wider sales strategy, company officials said.
“We will continue to invest in strong, distinctive partnerships for Nike with other retailers and platforms to seamlessly serve our consumers globally,” Nike confirmed.
Amazon officials on Wednesday declined to comment about Nike’s departure. Nike competitors Under Armour and Adidas continue to sell products on Amazon. Nike officials said they will continue using Amazon web hosting to power the Nike website and many of its apps.
The Nike-Amazon split comes one month after the sports apparel and equipment company named John Donahoe its incoming CEO. Donahoe, the former CEO of eBay, takes over for departing Nike CEO Mark Parker on Jan. 13.
One analyst following Nike said counterfeit merchandise perhaps played a role in Nike’s decision to leave Amazon.
“I think Nike is putting more emphasis on its own online business, as evidenced by the news that its new CEO of a former CEO at eBay,” said Morningstar analyst David Swartz. “Also, Nike was probably unhappy that Amazon hasn’t gotten rid of the third-party sellers and fakes.”
In its latest earnings report from September, Nike reported $10.2 billion in revenue in the three months ended August 31m up about 7% from the year-earlier period. Officials said the sales bump was largely driven by Nike Direct, the arm of the company that oversees Nike.com, direct-to-consumer sales and Nike+ digital.
The Nike-Amazon deal began in June 2017 in order to “create new ways to serve consumers” CEO Parker told investors at the time. The deal allowed Nike —one of the most recognized athletic apparel brands on the planet — to sell its shoes, clothing, and accessories on the largest online retailer in the U.S.