Greek retailers have announced they are taking Nike to the European courts following the company’s announcement that it will terminate its existing contracts by 2022.
A spokesperson at the Dutch European headquarters of the American multinational corporation confirmed on Wednesday that its strategy in Greece will involve a smaller number of partners.
The spokesperson added that the decision was taken in the context of its recently announced “Consumer Direct Acceleration” strategy, which involves prioritizing investment through Nike’s digital channels.
“Nike has a bold vision to create the marketplace of the future, one closely aligned with what consumers want and need,” the spokesperson said, and added:
“As part of our recently announced Consumer Direct Acceleration strategy, we are doubling down on our approach, serving consumers in Greece with Nike Digital channels including Nike.com and our retail apps, Nike stores, as well as a smaller number of strategic partners who share our vision to create a consistent, connected and modern shopping experience.”
Nike makes clear in its statement that it is not leaving the country, as was originally reported by some Greek media.
“We will invest even more in our effort to serve Greek consumers,” it claims.
Nike has recently sent a letter to about 100 Greek retailers announcing its decision to terminate their cooperation by May 31, 2022.
Uncertain future for Nike stores
The multinational has established 22 Nike stores in Greece, 15 of which were managed by Folli Follie, a Greek-based international company, whose founder was jailed pending trial, accused of falsifying the company’s financial data.
These contracts are expiring since the Folli Follie company is unable to obtain protection from creditors following the financial scandal.
Nike has started discussions over the future of the remaining seven stores, including the iconic Ermou store in central Athens.
According to reports, investors from neighboring countries, such as Italy and Turkey, have expressed interest in taking them over.
Angry Greek retailers
Greek retailers, angry at the decision, are preparing to appeal to a Europe-based court.
They claim that the termination of business cooperation is “unreasonable,” and will lead to many stores up and down the country shutting down and hundreds of job losses.
They say there is no violation of the terms of cooperation and point out that despite the lockdown that kept the stores shuttered for long periods of time, they met their financial obligations fully and on time.
In addition, they claim that Nike creates “unfair competition” in the Greek market with the corporation essentially creating a “gap” in Greece which will then be filled with other partners.
Speaking to Mega TV, Zisis Papadimos, a retailer and President of the Chamber of Commerce of the region of Fokida, accused Nike of trying to create a monopoly in Greece.
“Nike is not leaving Greece. It stays and tries to create a monopoly regime. It closes down 100 sport goods dealers because it wants to work with 2-3 multinationals and some big brands,” he said.
“We have contacted a large law firm abroad. The precautionary measures and the lawsuit will be filed next week. We will claim compensation. We will not allow any company to create monopolies in Greece,” he added.