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Will the Olympics save Nike from its midlife crisis?

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Will the Olympics save Nike from its midlife crisis?

It’s hard to imagine how the city will fare during the Olympics. The very charm of Paris – its narrow streets and exquisite little shops – means that even on a normal Tuesday, car traffic is pretty bad. (Hence the avalanche of electric bicycles that almost ran me over every time I crossed a street). The Seine is beautiful, but open water swimming will probably be canceled due to E.coli. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has already received criticism for how she has handled the chaos (or not managedas the case may be) prior to the games.

For Nike, the Olympics also represent an incipient crisis or an opportunity to change everything. The company is going through some difficult years, beset by low sales figuresand it is in your longest losing streak since going public in the 1980s. In February, Nike CEO John Donahoe announced that the company would lay off about 2 percent of its workforce, and the second wave of layoffs came just weeks after employees returned home following this event.

As with any older company, the reasons for this are complex. “Nike’s innovation is not where it should be… and the company has become distracted,” said David Swartz, senior equity analyst at Morningstar, who cited a number of reasons why Nike’s business is no longer stellar. The company faces more competitors than ever, from Adidas and Puma to newer companies like when running and Lululemon.

Like many companies, the company has continuous problems managing its post-Covid inventory. It is also a lightning rod for controversy. As the dismay over high cut briefs For example, the company has been embroiled in other accusations of sexism. A federal judge recently ruled that The OregonianA Portland, Oregon-based newspaper can report on heretofore sealed documents detailing decades of harassment in the company.

The company’s move from wholesalers to direct to consumer It was not as successful as I expected and faith is unstable in its new executive leadership team. “It makes sense to hire someone with digital sales experience if you want to sell online,” Swartz said. Previously, Donahoe was president and CEO of ServiceNow and eBay, and is still chairman of PayPal’s board of directors. “However, [Donahoe] “He’s not a sneakerhead.” As if that weren’t enough, the creative team behind some of Nike’s most successful ads in the last 20 years has gone silently the agency to work on smaller projects.

However, it’s not all bad news for Nike. Far from there. All the athletes Nike sponsors in the next Olympic Games could lose; Every shoe the company releases in the coming months could fail. Still, the company’s products remain the best in their class and have been for a long time. The best athletes in the world wear Nike. It will be a while before a competitor can equip a running back with Kipchoge’s star power. Even Caitlin Clark wore Nike when he broke the NCAA shooting record. Not bad for a 60-year-old company, even one that clearly has some problems to resolve.

“You still have the biggest marketing budget, the top athletes,” Swartz said. “I think he will come back. [The UEFA European Football Championships] and the Olympic Games are excellent marketing opportunities. [But] “The outlook is murky for the entire industry right now.”

Not all of us need an AI-designed prototype with TPU heel clips, but most of us could use a comfortable, springy everyday sneaker. Some of us (me) are also very interested in a skate shoe. In the coming months we will see if the rest of the world is too.

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