NIKE’S EUROPEAN MOVE

Byline: James Fallon

LONDON — Nike will unveil its first freestanding regular-price store in Europe at Gatwick Airport here and is opening its second European factory outlet store in England as well.
U.K. Intersport, the British arm of the big Intersport association of independent sports retailers, plans to open a 1,000-square-foot Nike store in the South Terminal of Gatwick in March. Intersport’s worldwide headquarters are in Ostermundigen, Switzerland.
The Gatwick store will contain all the latest Nike products and merchandising concepts, said Jim Tucker, Nike’s U.K. general manager. The unit will be under the Nike name, with bags bearing the trademark Nike swoosh on one side and the Intersport name on the other.
“It will be an important showcase for us,” Tucker said. “It will make us visible to an enormous number of travelers.” The store will be the first airport unit in Europe for Intersport as well as Nike. David Broughton, Intersport’s U.K. general manager, said it also will be the first time the retailer has devoted an entire unit to one resource.
Broughton said Intersport might roll out more Nike stores if the Gatwick unit is successful. He added there probably would be other airport shops.
Nike also has announced plans to open a 10,000-square-foot factory store in the Cheshire Oaks discount outlet center being developed by BAA McArthur Glen in Ellesmere Port, England. The center is expected to open in April.
Nike’s other European outlet is in Paris.
“We see outlet stores as a vital element in controlling excess inventory, and the environment in which it is sold, which makes them an asset to our retail partners,” said Tim Walley, director of Nike’s European development.
Meanwhile, the athletic footwear and activewear giant is continuing to search for sites for its own Nike Town stores in Europe. Tucker said he didn’t know when or where the first unit might open.

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