Nike, Foot Locker Ink Deal On All-Basketball Store

Nike Inc. and Foot Locker Inc. last week consummated a retail partnership that gives Nike brands an exclusive retail presence for basketball, while giving Foot Locker's store-within-a-store basketball section a stand-alone iteration. The companies unveiled the first House of Hoops all-basketball store on 125th Street in New York City.

The nearly 4,000-square-foot store, which also serves as a kind of community basketball hangout, features Nike, Jordan Brand and Converse brands, with each getting a branded area.

The store--of which the companies plan to roll out 50 over the next three years in new and existing locations--is also the only outlet to sell shoes that players like Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade actually wear in games, reproducing the precise design and performance cues specified by such players.

Among other areas, the store has a Hoops Essentials area and a VIP area, where visitors can read magazines, or watch commercials and behind-the-scenes interviews with the players on a 65-inch TV screen. The store also has a community section with an electronic community board and a ticker posting real-time scores from local high school basketball games, relevant basketball news, and information about upcoming store events.



Chad Smoak, vice president/retail brand marketing for Foot Locker, Inc. U.S., says the concept is about 10 years old--starting as a concept in stores. "The Foot Locker has always been a leader in basketball products and to kind of reinforce that and to maintain that position, there was the idea we should house all products together--to do something special," he says.

Smoak says the company will promote the program via grassroots efforts in markets like Chicago and L.A., where the company plans to open House of Hoops stores. "Local community outreach--that's the whole purpose of the stores: to go into communities where basketball is significant and build a home for these individuals. You won't see a ton of big TV campaigns, but we have been doing House of Hoops advertising within Foot Locker stores since that concept began within our stores."

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