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(established 1972)

This highly successful sports goods and accessories company had its origins in the 1950s with two friends at the University of Oregon in the USA, Bowerman and Knight, the former developing athletic shoe design and the latter going on to study for an MBA at Stanford University. Knight pursued the idea that attractively priced, well‐designed, and efficiently marketed Japanese shoes could make inroads into the German domination of the US market. As a result a partnership was established with the Japanese athletic shoe manufacturer Onitsuka Tiger and, in 1962, Bowerman and Knight's company Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS) was established as the sole distributor of Tiger shoes. Following a period of real growth BRS began manufacturing its own shoes in 1971 and opened its first retail outlet in Santa Monica, California. BRS broke with Onitsuka Tiger in 1972, renaming itself Nike (after the Greek goddess of Victory). The new company was launched at the US trials for the 1972 Olympic Games and by 1980 the company went public having captured 50 per cent of the US athletic shoe market. In the 1980s Nike International was formed to cater for a growing overseas market that by 2001 covered more than 100 countries. Underpinning the company's success were a number of innovative business strategies as well as technological innovations such as the introduction of Nike‐Air cushioning. In the 1990s the company continued to expand, developing its clothing and accessory lines and purchasing Canstar Sports Inc. the world's largest manufacturer of hockey equipment. In 2001 the company launched the first of its women only, NIKEgoddess stores in Los Angeles. These stores were planned as interactive with female consumers providing feedback on the style, design, and performance of Nike products.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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