You’re likely to have better luck these days snagging them from their own stores or on their websites than at mom-and-pops and smaller chains.
The shift means shoppers will find fewer places to buy leading brands and also puts pressure on retailers that will no longer be able to stock highly-sought after shoes and clothes on their shelves, according to retail experts.
Selling to customers directly allows brands to make more money, control their prices and showcase products exactly the way they want in their store displays. They also can prevent their labels from being discounted too heavily, which could weaken their brand image and pricing power.
By offering less stuff at wholesale, brands can also hit the sweet spot for their business — high demand and tight supply.
Strategies to pull away from other retailers started well before the Covid-19 pandemic, of course, but have sped up over the last two years.
“Even if brands weren’t heavily focused on direct [sales] pre-Covid, now they are,” said Susan Anderson, an analyst at B. Riley Securities.
In addition to tightening up their wholesale partners and growing online, many of these brands are opening new stores.
Some, such as Under Armour, Adidas and Crocs sell to Amazon, but Canada Goose and Ralph Lauren have stayed away from the online giant. Some brands have been hesitant to sell on Amazon out of concerns they won’t have control over the customer experience.
Nike leaves DSW and Zappos
Among big athletic brands, Nike was one of the first to signal that it would cut back on the traditional retailers it sells to and concentrate on growing its direct-to-consumer business.
Nike is a top draw and if stores don’t carry it, customers loyal to Nike will shop elsewhere. (The company also owns the Jordan and Converse brands.)
DSW believes it can replace Nike by increasing its sales of other athletic brands, CEO Roger Rawlins said on an analyst call last month. “We are getting strong results really across our entire athletic portfolio,” he said.