While two companies going their separate ways doesn’t usually make the news, it becomes a headline story when titans are involved. Such was the case on Wednesday (November 13, 2019 when Beaverton-based Nike let it be known it planned to withdraw from its wholesale relationship with Amazon, the second largest e-commerce company in the world.
While shoes have long been sold on Amazon through third-party retailers, Nike entered into a direct sales agreement with the platform in 2017. To Nike’s benefit, Amazon immediately pulled down listing of third-party sellers listing Nike’s premium product.
Expecting to have the favor returned, the online giant pushed for Nike to open allocation of its top-tier product, a request Nike staunchly refused, which soured the relationship and planted the seeds for the breakup.
In a statement, Nike said the move was related to supporting its oft-stated goal of expanding direct sales. The company said, “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.”
Amazon never did completely halt the third-party sales on its website and in advance of the Nike’s announcements, the online retailer has been hard at work recruiting additional sellers to fill the gap. According to Bloomberg sources, “The company has been preparing for the move. It has been recruiting third-party sellers with Nike products so that the merchandise is still widely available on the site.”