Foot Locker invests in streetwear e-commerce platform
Foot Locker is investing in an online platform that hopes to shake up how sneakerheads relate to the brands they buy.
The chain announced an investment in e-commerce and content platform NTWRK, according to Hiphop Wired. NTWRK, which was founded in 2018, enables visiting site members to watch exclusive celebrity-hosted episodes of product “drops” and purchase the products featured in the content. The website has already created partnerships with big players in the sneaker/streetwear space like Puma, Jordan, Adidas and Champion.
Foot Locker has been undertaking moves to redefine itself from being a primarily mall-based retailer to an urban sneakerhead destination in recent years. The chain began opening a series of standalone physical locations called Power Stores, first globally and then in the U.S., which feature localized and lifestyle-adjacent offerings catering toward urban sneakerhead culture. More recently, it launched a digital campaign called “We Live Sneakers,” which promotes its dedication to sneakerhead culture and its exclusive relationship selling Nike’s “script swoosh” shoe design created in celebration of the iconic logo.
While Foot Locker’s success with its Power Store strategy seemed to have the chain successfully on the road to reinvention, especially as its mall-era competition like Payless began bowing out, a recent hard quarter has raised questions of what work the chain still has to do demonstrate growth while locking down sneakerhead loyalty.
Some sources, however, like on Seeking Alpha, are more positive about the recent quarter. Despite Foot Locker’s slight misses on top and bottom estimates, analysts there praised the chain’s modernization and leaning out of its operations. It identified concerns moving forward as being tied to general market malaise and the impact of tariffs rather than specific moves from the retailer. They also point out competition from Amazon.com and Nike’s direct sales as big long-term concerns.
In fact, at least one of Foot Locker’s moves has put it into direct competition, or co-opetition, with Nike. Foot Locker’s opening of a Power Store in New York City put the chain directly up against Nike’s new Manhattan flagship, an experiential location likewise meant to be a sneakerhead cultural hub.
- Foot Locker Invests In NTWRK E-Commerce Site – Hip Hop Wired
- New Foot Locker concept is powered by local culture – RetailWire
- Will Foot Locker’s NYC Power Store play ball with Nike? – RetailWire
- Foot Locker, Inc. Celebrates the Evolution of the Swoosh with Exclusive Collection – PR Newswire
- The Foot Locker Trade – Seeking Alpha
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS What can Foot Locker hope to get back in terms of ROI from investing in the NTWRK platform? How might Foot Locker integrate the business relationship with NTWRK into its store and/or online presence?