Some small retailers in the city say they're getting the boot from Nike and don't know why.
The athletic apparel company is telling the Philadelphia stores that their accounts are being terminated as of June 30, which means they will no longer be able to sell any Nike gear.
"It's like they're slamming the door in our face," said Keith Sherman, a manager for 21 years at Real McCoy Sports, one of the stores being cut off by Nike. "They're hitting the mom-and-pops that were around from the beginning, before they were the No. 1 brand."
Real McCoy recently received an email notice from Nike Inc., which is based in Beaverton, Ore., stating that it was terminating its account with the store. Sherman said about 10 mom-and-pop stores were listed in the email, which he could not immediately provide because it was sent to another manager who was not in the store Friday.
"We've been wondering about what was going on for a while because our orders were being cut," Sherman said. "They've just been giving us none of the high-end merchandise we normally sell. They just cut us out."
Sherman said 75 to 80 percent of his store's business is for Nike products, so it could mean big trouble for the store, which is in the city's Olney neighborhood.
Shoe Plus Athletic Footwear, which has been in business for 35 years in North Philadelphia, confirmed it also was on the list of stores being cut.
Nike brands include Jordan sneakers and outfits superstar athletes such as Tiger Woods and LeBron James.
Brian Yarbrough, an analyst with Edward Jones, said he has never heard of a big company like Nike ending its relationship with a retailer that was doing a great job selling its products.
"Usually you don't see vendors cutting off a retailer unless there's something the vendors don't like," Jones said. "Things like the retailer not doing a good job with their brand, pushing the brand, driving sales."
Jones said he doesn't think the move is part of a larger strategy on Nike's part.
"Independents are very important to them, especially in urban markets," he said. "I don't think Nike would walk away from independents, which usually have more knowledgeable staffs and better customer service (than big-box retailers)."
Sherman says his store does good business for Nike and wants some kind of explanation from the company, the top-selling brand at his store for many years.
"They gave us no reason at all. None," he said. "You talk about loyalty, where's their loyalty?"