Nike close to selling directly on Amazon: Goldman Sachs

(Reuters) - Nike Inc's NKE.N shares rose as much as 2 percent after Goldman Sachs said the world's biggest sportswear maker could be close to selling directly on Inc AMZN.O, raising competition for brick-and-mortar sporting goods retailers.

A customer exits the Niketown store in midtown Manhattan in New York June 25, 2015. Nike Inc, the world's largest footwear maker, reported a better-than-expected profit for the eighth quarter in a row as it sold more high margin basketball shoes and apparel at higher prices. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - RTR4YZ3G

Nike, whose products are already sold on Amazon through third-party and unlicensed dealers, could build an additional $300 million to $500 million of revenue in the United States or 1 percent of its global sales through its expansion as a wholesale dealer on Amazon, Goldman Sachs said in a client note.

Through the partnership, Nike could weed out excess, discounted inventory available at the marketplace through third-party retailers and sell more full-price products through the online channel, according to the note.

Nike shares were the top percentage gainer among Dow-listed stocks. The stock has been the worst performer among Dow stocks over the past three months.

The news comes as Nike said it would cut 2 percent of its global workforce and eliminate a quarter of its shoe styles to become nimbler in the face of intensifying competition and fast-changing consumer trends.

Nike vs. Sporting Goods retailers this year

Nike vs. Sporting Goods retailers this year

“Taking this step would give Nike direct economic exposure to a large and fast growing distribution channel, while improving the brand presentation and expanding access to millennial shoppers,” Goldman analyst Lindsay Drucker Mann said.

A potential partnership would lead to more competition for sporting goods retailers such as Dick's Sporting Goods Inc DKS.N that are seeing some market share gains due to the bankruptcies of The Sports Authority and other smaller, regional chains.

Shares of Dick's Sporting fell as much as 8 percent in early trading to hit a near one-and-a-half-year low, while Hibbett Sports Inc HIBB.O fell as much as 6 percent to hit a more than seven-year low.

Other chains such as Finish Line Inc FINL.O hit a near 7 year low, while Foot Locker Inc FL.N hit a more than three year low.

“We expect pressures on bricks and mortar retail for the foreseeable future to result in pockets of inventory excess,” Drucker Mann said. However, it would help Nike to make its brand more visible by working with Amazon to control inventory from unlicensed dealers, she added.

Reporting by Gayathree Ganesan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta