Nike is bringing an end to a deal with Amazon which saw the athletics brand sell its clothes and shoes directly to customers on the e-commerce site, reports Bloomberg. Although third-party sellers will be able to continue selling Nike products, Nike will no longer act as a wholesaler to Amazon.
Nike and Amazon’s deal first emerged back in 2017. At the time, Nike’s aim was to regulate its products when they appeared on the site, cracking down on sales from unlicensed distributors as well as knockoff items being sold by third-party sellers. However, over the last two years, Bloomberg reports that this control never fully materialized. Nike struggled to compete against third-party listings, who would often benefit from having more reviews than Nike’s listings.
The move comes as Nike is increasingly emphasizing direct-to-consumer sales via avenues like the Nike app and Nike.com. The company recently said that it’s planning on concentrating its efforts on a smaller number of just 40 retail partners.
Amazon has reportedly been preparing for an announcement like this from Nike for a little while now, and has made moves to ensure that the athletic company’s products are available from third-party sellers.
Experts quoted by Bloomberg said that Nike’s move could stoke the concerns of other Amazon partners, who have had to watch as Amazon struggles with the increasing number of grey-market items on its store. Even some of Amazon’s own items have fallen victim to these problems. However, experts also noted that few of Amazon’s partners will have the same scale as Nike, making it harder for them to forge a path without the e-commerce giant.
“As part of Nike’s focus on elevating consumer experiences through more direct, personal relationships, we have made the decision to complete our current pilot with Amazon Retail,” a spokesperson for Nike told Bloomberg, “We will continue to invest in strong, distinctive partnerships for Nike with other retailers and platforms to seamlessly serve our consumers globally.”
Amazon declined to comment to The Verge on the news.