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Life - Entertain

Is Nike the One Team LeBron Can‘t Save?

New sneakers likely won’t be enough to restore Nike’s dominance, one analyst argues.

Nike needs some slam dunks to return to sneaker dominance, but one analyst thinks its latest offerings could clang off the rim.

Not even the new LeBrons can stop Nike’s decline, argues Cowen analyst John Kernan. “Views on the coming LeBron 15 launch are negative to neutral at best and with an expected $185 price point, Nike could have trouble selling the shoe at full-price when released in October,” he writes. The LeBron 15 is set to launch in October.

Nike’s “chunkier” basketball sneakers aren’t attracting fans like they used to, because styles have changed too much. “Consumers have proven their unwillingness to pay $150-plus for current premium offerings and the current cast of athletes may have waning salability,” Kernan writes.

Both Nike and Under Armour are also struggling to figure out how to make their sneakers seem special when they’re available at an expanding number of online and off-line locations. If consumers can buy Under Armour shoes at a discount at Kohl’s , why would they seek out a fancier pair at a specialty sporting goods store?

“An increasingly savvy consumer is being bombarded with product that lacks inspiration and is wiser to the promotional game retailers and vendors engage in,” Kernan wrote.

Adidas, meanwhile, is “dictating global trends” because it has figured out how to ride style trends better than its competitors. From the company’s retro brands to its high-performance Boost sneakers, Adidas has remained ahead of competitors and could even double market share in North America, Kernan argues.

Nike shares are down 9% in the last month. Barron’s outlined some of the company’s challenges in its cover story this week.

Big Picture: Nike and Under Armour still haven’t caught up with recent sneaker trends, according to one analyst.

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