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Nike Diversifying Into Hi-Tech Gear

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BEAVERTON, OR/USA (12 May 2000)–Athletic shoe and apparel (including bikewear) giant Nike Inc. is diversifying into hi-tech sports gear for athletes. The first and most expensive of five new products is a digital audio player with 64 megabytes of memory that will be in retail stores in July for US$299. Four other products are expected […]

BEAVERTON, OR/USA (12 May 2000)–Athletic shoe and apparel (including bikewear) giant Nike Inc. is diversifying into hi-tech sports gear for athletes. The first and most expensive of five new products is a digital audio player with 64 megabytes of memory that will be in retail stores in July for US$299. Four other products are expected to be in stores by the fall, including real-time speed-distance and heart rate monitoring devices, a digital compass and hand-held walkie-talkies aimed for use by snowboarders, hikers and campers. “Today’s athletes are looking for something extra to enhance the connection between themselves and the athletic experience. They want more information,” said Clare Hamill, vice president of Nike Equipment, in an AP report. “These are performance products for athletes in the emerging digital age.” Nike executives said the products make perfect sense for their active customers. The audio player will have a remote in case the user wants to put it in a pocket or backpack, the walkie talkie will transmit weather alerts and the heart monitor will eventually be designed into women’s sports bras. Analysts says Nike has been trying to expand its equipment business for some time — with basketballs and baseball bats and more successfully with the Triax ergonomic running watch, of which 2.5 million have been sold since late 1997. Last year Nike recorded US$9.5 billion in sales (of which more than US$9 billion came from shoes and apparel. (JW)

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