NEW YORK — Say goodbye to Nike Goddess.
The athletic giant plans to change the name of its women’s-only stores to the more straightforward Nikewomen and will open its first location under that nameplate in July at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif.
A company spokeswoman said Nike decided to change the name to communicate a more global image and convey a clear connection between Nike and women.
Elliott Hill, Nike’s vice president and general manager for U.S. retail, could not be reached for comment, but said in a statement, “Nike has been at the forefront of cultivating the relationship between women and sports. The new store will provide Nike another outlet to build new relationships and foster existing ones.”
The name change was not a result of any problems with the Goddess concept, the spokeswoman said. Nike doesn’t break out sales of the Goddess division, or women’s apparel, although company executives have said in the past that women’s merchandise, including footwear, accounted for about 20 percent of overall revenues. In the last fiscal year, Nike had revenues of $10.7 billion.
Nike opened its first Goddess store in 2001 in the Fashion Island mall in Newport Beach, Calif., and the following year, opened its second unit at the Grove outdoor shopping market in Los Angeles. The new Costa Mesa store is taking over the space formerly held by Hugo Hugo Boss, which has closed. There are also seven in-store Goddess shops located within stores such as Macy’s Herald Square here. The stores include apparel, footwear and accessories, as well as high-performance athleticwear for women. They were designed to have a feminine ambience, with soft colors and open floor plans.
Nike will eventually change the name of the existing Goddess stores and in-store shops, as well as the name of the Goddess Web site, according to the spokeswoman.
Nike is named after a female — the Greek goddess of victory, from which the Goddess store name stems — although for years the brand was dedicated to men. Recently, it has stepped up its efforts and merchandise for women. In 2001, the company tapped fashion industry veteran Mindy Grossman to develop the apparel business, and since that time has introduced more stylish and colorful merchandise.
It has also featured its female-sponsored athletes such as soccer star Mia Hamm in recent ad campaigns, and this year it began a partnership with tennis superstar Serena Williams, who just made her debut this season as a Nike athlete.