Independent sports shop in Nike row wins a payout
'We want the basic stuff that the people of Kentish Town want for sport'
20 January, 2020 — By Tom Foot
Nick Mavrides at Ace Sports
THE owner of an independent sports shop who threatened Nike with legal action after he was blocked from selling boots and kits has won a settlement from the global giant.
Nick Mavrides, of Ace Sports in Kentish Town, who has sold Nike products at his shop for more than 30 years, had his account closed by the company in 2018. He was told he could not place orders because Nike was moving its operation to a select group of outlets who were ordering at least £10,000 worth of stock each year.
Mr Mavrides said the ban cost him orders with a client and he sued the company for loss of earnings. He says Nike believes “the people of Kentish Town are not worthy of its products”.
He told the New Journal: “At the last minute they agreed to pay the whole amount, for the loss of profit. They said it was a commercial gesture of goodwill. “But to me, if they thought they were so confident they could beat me in court, why pay me? And why not make me sign a non-disclosure agreement?”
A legal letter to Mr Mavrides said he would have to take up his case against Nike in “the courts of Amsterdam (not the English courts)”. He added: “Ironically, the money they have given me, I am using to take the fight to the Netherlands. They say I need to take the case to Nike Europe. They are in the Netherlands and I am talking to lawyers there.”
Mr Mavrides is one of dozens of independent stores that have been hit by Nike’s decision to only offer its top-range stock to a select group of suppliers.
Sports Direct, which has recently opened a boutique store in Camden Market, was last year told by Nike it could not stock its top-range products.
Chief executive Mike Ashley has called for an investigation, complaining about the bargaining dominance of “must-have brands” including Nike and Adidas.
Mr Mavrides said: “There are seven key lines and Nike are saying they won’t give the top three to shops apart from JD Sports and their own website. They say they don’t want shops like mine selling Nike because the shop doesn’t look right. My point is they now feel that the people of Kentish Town are not worthy of their products. I don’t want all that fashion stuff anyway.”
He added: “We want the basic stuff that the people of Kentish Town want for sport. I want kids’ boots, park strips [and] basic runners. All I want is to trade as a normal proper bona fide sports shop as I have done for 30 years ago.”
Nike did not respond to requests for comment from the New Journal, but a legal letter sent to Mr Mavrides said: “Our client denies that it is liable to you and that the claim and the allegations made by you are misconceived. That said our client is, on a without prejudice and without admission of liability basis and by way of a commercial gesture, prepared to offer to pay you the sum of £4,207.13 in full and final settlement of the claim.”
The letter added that Mr Mavrides’ Nike account was closed “legitimately”, adding that he would have to pay Nike’s legal costs should the dispute ever go to court.