The obsession with Michael Jordan (and his sneakers) shows no sign of abating

Foot Locker is thriving. In a business update on Aug. 10, the sneaker retailer reported its comparable store sales, including sales at stores open at least a year and its online sales, were up about 18% compared to last year in the quarter through Aug. 1.

The company had a few things going for it. Pandemic-related government assistance left a share of US shoppers with cash in their pockets they were itching to spend once stores started to reopen. Foot Locker has a strong e-commerce business too, which kept sales flowing to shoppers stuck at home. But that wasn’t all.

“The other big opportunity for them was ‘The Last Dance’ documentary, which brought a lot of attention to Jordan product,” said Matt Powell, the sports industry analyst for research firm NPD Group, referring to the hugely popular 10-part ESPN series about NBA legend Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. “Nike released an extraordinary amount of Jordan product in May and June. Foot Locker is the largest outlet for Jordan by miles, and so as Nike leveraged it, so did Foot Locker.”

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