December 23, 2002, 12:00 AM

Nike launches Nike.net to connect with small retailers

Nike is launching a web-based network to make it easier for its smallest retailers to do business with it, allowing retailers to connect to nike.net to view product availability, place orders online, download UPC codes and preview marketing campaigns.

Nike Inc. is launching a web-based network to make it easier for its smallest retailers to do business with it. Under a technology agreement with Hewlett-Packard Co., Nike is allowing more than 2,000 retailers to connect to nike.net to view product availability, place orders online, download UPC codes and preview marketing campaigns and plans for future products. To connect to and use nike.net, retailers first must install a specially configured computer, which Nike is making available for $999.

Nike also plans to enable retailers to use nike.net to check the status of orders, get real-time information on product availability, automate returns processing and transfer payment electronically.

Nike.net is being used so far by 1,800 multiple category retailers, covering all of Nike`s sports product lines. In addition, the site is used by more than 500 specialty retailers, which carry Nike`s running, ACG, tennis, Jordan brand and kid-wear lines.

As part of its agreement with HP, Nike is making available a Compaq Evo D310 Minitower Business series PC, which comes with an Intel Pentium 4 processor and Microsoft Office XP Small Business software. HP is also providing Nike with technical support services to help retailers maintain their nike.net connection. Other than the cost of the PC, Nike said it is not charging any fees for using nike.net.

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