SWOT and PESTLE Analysis of Nike

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Paul Nave
Master of International Business (MIB) University of Wollongong, Australia
11 - March - 2016

SWOT and PESTLE Analysis of Nike

A Brief Profile of Nike, Inc.

An American multinational corporation, Nike, Inc. is one of the most leading brands which designs, develops and sells footwear, apparel, accessories, equipment and other services worldwide. It concentrates and focuses primarily on producing sportswear and athletics products (About.nike.com, 2016). But it also holds substantial popularity in the leisure and casual products.

Founded as Blue Ribbon Sports in the year 1964, it was officially named as Nike, Inc on 30th May, 1970. This company takes its name from the Greek goddess of victory named Nike (About.nike.com, 2016). It has its operating segments throughout the world which in the year 2014 was recognized as the most valuable brand among all sports business.
The brand, its Swoosh (also referred as Nike tick) logo and universal slogan ‘Just do it!’ are highly recognized throughout the world.

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http://www.nike.com/

Industry Served

Apparels, Accessories, Footwear

Headquarters

Washington County, Oregon, USA

Area Served

Worldwide

Annual Revenue

US $30.601 billion (2015)

Key People

Phil Knight, Chairman
Mark Parker, President and CEO

Products

Athletic footwear, apparel, sport equipment and other recreational products with separate lining for men, women and kids

Number of Employees

62,600 (2015 data)

Website

                                                                                  [Source: 2015 Annual Results Nike Inc]

SWOT & PESTLE ANALYSIS OF NIKE

SWOT Analysis

This study is conducted to assess Nike, Inc. reviewing the four major aspects of concern. Nike, Inc. is listed on NYSE with offices located all over the world. It reviews the strategy and its performance against all the external and internal factors. Commonly known as the SWOT analysis, it includes Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. They are known as the basis of its short-term and long-term strategic direction.

STRENGTHS

• Product Innovation

In the competitive world, innovation is a crucial determinant of sustainability. Nike, Inc. has always been successful and is regarded as one of the pioneers to introduce various enthralling products. With the constantly evolving and innovative product range, it has solidified its position as one of the leading brands in the apparel and footwear industry.

Since the 1990s, due to the complicated supply chain management, Nike, Inc. started focusing on creating such products which would be better for the athletes, business and also the planet (News.nike.com, 2016). The below chart provides how Nike, Inc. took various initiatives which reciprocate their strategy of product innovation.

Year

Product Milestones

1995

Shift from petroleum-derived solvents to water-based adhesives

2000

Nike endorsed Principles of the UN Global Impact and phased out completely SF6 and PVC

2002

Introduced environmentally preferred rubber

2008

Nike, Inc. released Jordan XX3, Trash Talk shoes

2010

Introduced environmental-friendly and technologically advanced jerseys

2012

Introduced high-performance Nike fly knit racer

                                                                                              [Source: http://news.nike.com/]

• Strong Global Brand

Nike, Inc. is regarded as one of the strongest global brands which have its prominent presence all over the world. The brand is promoted by the leading celebrities and sports professionals which creates significant brand equity in terms of recognition and image (Businesstoday.in, 2016). It is also the brand ambassador of various sporting events and teams (at domestic and national level). Some of the legendary sportsperson (or teams) who promoted or still promote Nike, Inc. are Michael Jordon, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rory Mcllory and Rafael Nadal. These influential endorsements along with the captivating slogan ‘Just do it’ is recognizable and inspire all its potential consumers.

• Low Cost Manufacturing with Strong Cash Flow

Nike, Inc. has always followed an effective marketing strategy which helps it to reduce the cost of manufacturing. Most of their factories and production units are located in Asian countries which are emerging economies as well as involve low production cost. Their plants are located in China, Vietnam, South Korea and Thailand. Apart from these units, it also has manufacturing firms located in South American countries and in USA (Seattlepi.com, 2016).

Shareholders of Nike, Inc. always earn a healthy dividend which keeps their reputation high. It also enjoys high valuation in NYSE and trust among all investors. Nike, Inc. also maintains a steady cash flow which is used for aggressive marketing strategy and to allocate sufficient amount for Research and Development budget. The capital expenditures of Nike, Inc. increased rapidly in the last five years, from $432 million in the year 2011 to $963 million in the year 2015 (Marketwatch.com, 2016).

• Global Presence and Influence

In a recent data, the number of retail stores of Nike located worldwide is more than 931 through which it reaches its consumers located globally.

It is currently the most valuable brand among all sports businesses. According to the Annual Report (2015), its annual revenue in this financial year was US $30.7 billion with operating income at US $4.175. Their products are immensely popular among the teenagers and youth. It has enjoyed rising revenue globally since the last ten years with 27.8 billion US dollars in the year 2014 from 13.7 billion US dollars in 2005.

• Proficient Leadership

The success of any company depends on their leadership and executives who manage the company in good and bad times. As it explains Nike, Inc. has one of the brightest team of leaders who not only devise the meticulous marketing strategies but they also inspire others to do the best work (About.nike.com, 2016). Globally, Nike, Inc. has more than 62,000 employees who are behind the success of this brand. At the Board of Director level, it comprises of:

 Philip H Knight, Chairman
 Mark Parker, President and CEO
 Trevor Edwards, President of Nike Brand
 Andy Campion, CFO
 Jeanne P Jackson, President of product and merchandising
 Hilary Krane, CAO

Lastly, it won’t be inappropriate to mention one comment by Philip Knight, the founder of Nike, ‘Business is war without bullets!’ Nike, Inc. works on this principle.

WEAKNESSES

• Excessive Dependence on Footwear

Nike, Inc. has a diversified range of products which includes apparels, equipment and footwear. But the marketing trends exhibit that the sustainability of Nike, Inc. is dependent on the sales of its footwear (Statista.com, 2016). If in any circumstances, the footwear segment experience an erosion then the whole organization would be affected adversely. In North America itself, more than half of the revenue gets generated from the footwear every year.

The above figure clearly explains how important for Nike, Inc. it is to diversify its products and provide more importance to other fields apart from its footwear.

• High Prices of its Products

As Nike, Inc. enjoys huge reputation throughout the world, almost all the products are premium ranged. Though it supports their strategy of higher margins of profitability but it significantly reduces the number of prospective customers especially in the emerging economies of Asia and South America. The high prices of their products also encourage the competitors of Nike, Inc. to keep their charges low giving them an opportunity to increase their market share. As the company is expected to continue with their price hiking strategy (Marketrealist.com, 2016), it will probably result in the loss of key market share in Japan and Brazil. But it will continue to reign in other global segments.

• High Advertising Spending

Nike, Inc. spends highly to advertising and brand endorsements. Though regarded as a successful marketing strategy, the annual cost rise manifolds and create a substantial impact on the profit margins. According to the Nike, Inc.’s Annual Report (2013), the total advertising and promotion spending accounted for about 11% of the total sales or around $2.7 billion. As the competition increases with every fiscal, the allocation for advertising costs also increases exponentially. The company itself argues its stance by claiming it as a ‘demand creation’ process but the percentage increase does not reflect in the productivity advances as expected.

Year

Advertisement Spending in billion USD

2009

0.56

2010

0.89

2012

1

2013

1.15

2014

1.31

                                                                                                            [Source: Statista.com]

The above chart explains how in USA itself the advertising spending has increased in the last few years for Nike, Inc.

• Nike Sweatshop Problem

Nike, Inc. has always been very protective about its brand image. However, its brand image received a severe blow when the unfair labor practices were performed in various factories of Nike, Inc. especially in the Asian countries. Referred to as a sweatshop issue, it tarnished the company’s image and hurt sales. Poor working conditions, low wage rates and using children as laborers were the main complaints against the company (Theguardian.com, 2005). Issues started from the 1990s when Nike, Inc. started to shift their companies to Vietnam and Thailand from South Korea and China to tackle the rising demands by the laborers. Various allegations from Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand had compelled them to devise a new commitment to maintain the standards at the factories. Named as SHAPE (Safety, Health, Attitude, People and Environment), it defines the code of conduct to be followed in every company. Since the year 2005, the company continues to perform according to the commitment. Overall the situation changed and Nike, Inc. has been successful in retrieving its image considerably (BusinessInsider.com, 2013). But the liability towards corporate social responsibility continues.

OPPORTUNITIES

• Explore Emerging Markets

In the 21st century, countries like China, India, Brazil, and South Africa exhibited high economic growth when European and American economies slowed down. Consumers in these countries had high disposable income with increasing interest in western brands (Forbes.com, 2016). These countries can turn into significant markets for Nike, Inc. Exploring these markets can boost up the sales of Nike, Inc. by manifolds and hence increase the profit margins. Though Nike, Inc. has already stepped into these countries, still the potentialities have not been exploited completely. The main strategy that Nike, Inc. undertook to popularize their products in these countries is to endorse the popular sports.

• The Rise of e-Commerce Trade

Till the last decade, Nike, Inc. had to reach the customers through their own retailer stores or their franchises. But the rise in the e-commerce sector now allows every customer to book their selected product from their smartphone and get it delivered at their home anytime. The marketing strategists projects that by 2020, e-commerce sales will be responsible for one-third of overall growth (Internetretailer.com, 2016). They also project that the total sales in the fiscal 2020 will reach $7 billion.

Apart from the rising sales, people who are not engaged with any sports associate the brand of Nike with fashion and style. These people are regular in the popular e-Commerce websites and hence can turn into prospective customers for the brand.

• Product Expansion

Nike, Inc. is one of the few brands which spend millions of dollars in research and development. As they reign in footwear, apparel and sports and health equipment, it gives them considerable opportunity to increase their range of products. It needs to diversify the product range with special emphasis on accessories and also partnerships with other branded companies to strengthen its position (Nikevision.com, 2016). As the preferences of the customers tend to change every year, product expansion would help to maintain their hold on market share.

The innovative research and development branch of Nike, Inc. has always brought enthralling products. Some products like Nike Flyknit, recycled polyester, Colordry, Nike Grind shows their skill and diligence towards introducing new products (News.nike.com, 2016).

• Initiatives Towards Better Environment

Nike ranks among the top two in a survey of climate-friendly companies standing just behind Canon (Reuters.com, 2016). As with every year, climate change and global warming are becoming more serious, it becomes crucial to play a constructive role to protect the environment. However, only a few companies play their role of corporate social responsibility. In this bleak scenario, Nike, Inc. shows promise as it devises particular strategies to initiate recycling, phasing out usage of chemical components, proper precautions to safeguard health of laborers working in factories earned them reputation and praise globally (About.nike.com, 2016). However, these initiatives are not sufficient as the scope remains unlimited.

THREATS

• Intense Competition

Nike, Inc. functions in such an industry that is highly competitive. Nike, Inc. enjoys a better position in terms of market share when compared with competitors. But it faces stiff completion from Adidas, Puma and other reputed brands. All these brands produce the similar athletic footwear, apparel and other equipment which makes the competition much more intense (Statista.com, 2016). While the industry is highly competitive, the customers always have the option to substitute a product with a similar one of other company if they are not satisfied with the quality or service.

The above chart depicts the fierce rivalry between the first three brands of the industry. In the footwear section, Nike is the leader of the industry but it receives consistent challenge from Adidas and Puma. Recently, Nike, Inc. has experienced a fall in footwear sales in the USA which is a serious threat to the company.

• Fluctuating International Markets

Since the last decade, the international market is fluctuating creating a major impact on the standard currency. Most of the products manufactured by Nike, Inc. are developed in the factories located outside the USA. Accordingly, they conduct transactions in various currencies. It increases their vulnerability towards fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates. It also increases the cost, affects the operations and disrupt business with independent manufacturers of Nike, Inc (Nike, Inc. Annual Report, 2009). This is an issue faced by all global brands and exposure to these fluctuations for a longer period of time can be detrimental for the company. Along with the oscillating currencies, the product cost inflation and labor inflation also affects Nike, Inc. and hampers its productivity.

• The Rising Counterfeit Cases

The World Custom Organization (WCO)’s second Illicit Trade Report 2013 stated that Nike, Inc. is the most counterfeited brand worldwide while Apple. Inc became a distant second. The research states that this illicit business of fake products is very popular in the Asian markets which directly disturb the annual revenue of Nike, Inc. In the Chinese markets, the performance of Nike, Inc. is quite dismal when compared to other emerging economies. The total revenue collection by Nike, Inc. at 2013 in China slipped by 3% and the experts explicitly points out the challenge it faces from the huge counterfeit market. As the market of apparel and footwear is extremely volatile and substitutive, these rising fake Nike products pose enormous threat to the sustenance of the company. These fake products not only affect the revenue but it also maligns the reputation and brand image that Nike, Inc. holds globally (Worldtrademarkreview.com, 2016). Accordingly, these unethical business practices will force potential customers to migrate to other brands. Hence, it is important for Nike, Inc. to take social responsibility for serious and maintain its brand image.

• Perilous Supply Chain Management

For a global company like Nike, Inc., it is very crucial to reach the customers and make the delivery of the products with precision. Nike, Inc. owns no factories for manufacturing footwear and apparel though it makes up to 90% of its revenues. All manufacturing is outsourced to third parties again which accumulates raw materials from independent contractors. It helps in improving profit margins and reduces inventories but it also adds risk into the whole supply chain management system. This perplexed supply chain failed in February 2001 and Nike, Inc. incurred a loss of over 100 million US dollars. The stock price of the company also fell by 20% at that time (Scdigest.com, 2016). Since then, they tried to improve their network of supply chain which comprises of workers, communities, suppliers, buyers and obviously consumers by identifying the key issues which lead to the failure. It is a collaborative action which requires better management and constant monitoring to create and effective and efficient management system (Nikebiz.com, 2016).

• Recession

Nike, Inc. is known for its massive advertising spending, endorsements and sponsorships. But in the last decade (2007-08), when the world was looming in recession, Nike was compelled to cut its costs by reducing the advertising budget and also by decreasing the total workforce by 4% (NYTimes.com, 2009). The recession not only affected the company internally but the economic conditions of the customers also worsened as they went to buy footwear and apparel from the brands with low prices. Hence, being a premium product company, Nike, Inc. was affected from multiple sources. The global economic conditions and the financial stability of the potential consumers are necessary for the growth of this company.

If the above figure is minutely noticed, then it can be seen how the annual revenue of Nike, Inc. suffered in two years successively (2009 and 2010) which was also the recession years. The growth rate was negative as it earned less globally especially witnessing drastic fall in sales in North America and European markets. Hence, every global recession pose a serious threat for this company Nike, Inc.

PESTLE Analysis

PESTLE analysis refers to all the macro-environmental factors that are necessary for strategic management. It is an acronym which when expanded includes six factors when the company is contemplating to launch or upgrade a service or a product.

The factors are:

• Political
• Economic
• Social
• Technological
• Legal
• Environmental

The importance of all these factors is different for different companies or industries but comprehensively they play a crucial role in deciding the future action of every organization.

PESTLE Analysis for Nike, Inc.

Political Factors

• Favorable US Government Policies

The government policies always have a profound impact on the businesses especially which are engaged globally. The US government has always initiated growth-oriented policies which have helped the company to grow and expand internationally. The trade regulations, stable government and international competitive tax arrangements by the Federal Reserve fosters its growth (Whitehead, 2012). As Nike, Inc. is known for its environmental-friendly business strategies, it receives considerable tax benefits in this regard.

• Political Unrest in Some Asian countries

Most of the factories of Nike, Inc. are located in the emerging Asian countries like Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. The political unrest in Thailand in the last few years was a major concern for the management of Nike, Inc. where more than 35 factories are located. The situation was equally gloomy in Vietnam, Indonesia and parts of China in stages as any form of protest, political instability or social unrest can disturb the supply chain of Nike, Inc.

Country

Number of Factories  (2014)

China

195

Indonesia

40

Vietnam

65

Thailand

35

                                                                                    [Source: Wall Street Journal, 2014]

• Changes in International Law

The international law in the last one decade has become more stringent with the rising threat of terrorism. Various countries have imposed new rules and regulations to counter the growing threat of illegal activities within their territory. The increase in tariffs in some countries while the strict rules of immigration and visa are one of the important concerns for every global firm and Nike, Inc. is not an exception. United States, where the headquarters of Nike, Inc. is located is always under constant threat of terrorist attacks which pose a potential threat for the normal functioning of Nike, Inc.
Some of the countries also impose various tariffs to protect their indigenous brands for which Nike, Inc. is a serious threat. This trade protection hinders the growth of Nike, Inc. in those respective nations.

Economic Factors

• Rise in Production Cost and Labor Issues

One of the main reasons for Nike, Inc. to set up their base in Asian countries is the low labor cost. But with the economic boom and rise in living standards, the production cost in these countries has raised manifolds (Scmp.com, 2014). The labor issues are quite common in the factories of Nike, Inc. recently. In April 2014, Nike, Inc. experienced the biggest strike as most of the factories in China stopped production citing low wages. It had a significant effect on the production as well as the revenue of the company.

• The Threat of Recession and Competition

Nike, Inc. needs to devise a plan how it can tackle another global economic recession. Being a market leader, Nike, Inc. can be affected significantly as it experienced in the last decade (2008-09). Last time, it was noticed that during the recession that consumers replace Nike with some other brand which offers the same products at a lower price. So, the threat of recession always has a paired effect on Nike, Inc.

• Fluctuating Profit Margin

Nike performs all its business on the global spectrum. Hence, the stability of currency exchange and international interest rates in crucial to consistent growth of its profit margins (Nytimes.com, 2009). However, the higher inflation rate at the domestic level (USA) with the fluctuating currency rates with respect to the Dollar always has detrimental effects on the annual profit margin. According to Forbes, gross profit margin for Nike’s apparel division declined by 2.4% in 2011 and the primary reason being the volatile economic condition around the world (though the input costs also rose during this period).

• Acquisitions and Subsidiaries

Nike, Inc. has acquired various companies which function within its domain of footwear and apparel industry. It started in the year 1988 when it acquired Cole Haan (New York times). Since then, it has purchased many companies to strengthen their base in the world. It has also started various subsidiaries like Converse Inc and Hurley International to increase their customer base. However, some of these acquisitions put a major pressure on their finances without any significant accomplishments.

Social Factors

• Consumers Becoming More Brand Conscious

Globally most of the consumers have became brand conscious. They associate Nike, Inc. with quality and stature. This increase in brand awareness has helped the business of Nike, Inc. to grow. They were the first company that introduced innovation in the footwear and apparel industry. The amalgamation of style with technology led the foundation of success for Nike, Inc. which continues till today (Scribd.com, 2016). Apart from the products, the Swoosh logo and their slogan ‘Just do it!’ is highly popular and recognized around the world.

• Consumers Becoming Health and Fashion Conscious

Every year the number of people visiting the nearest gym to maintain their health, body and physique is increasing exponentially. Indirectly, this rise helped Nike, Inc. to boost up the sales as they turn to buy footwear and apparel for themselves to look athletic. Some of the consumers also associate Nike, Inc. with fashion and leisure (About.nike.com, 2016). They too are getting interested to buy Nike, Inc. products. This awareness among the people would help Nike, Inc. in the long run.

• Increase in Female Consumers

Nike, Inc. has devised the key strategy to grow their business in the next few years by targeting the increasing number of female customers. As a part of the strategy, it has appointed Amy Montage as the head of its business in the year 2013 (Forbes, 2014). The business in the women line grew by nearly 12% to $5 billion in the year 2013. The company envisages that the revenue from this segment will reach $7 billion by the year 2017. The enormous potentiality of this segment has encouraged the company to introduce various products exclusive for women. Nike, Inc. projects that soon 25% of its total revenue would be generated by the female consumers itself.

• Working Conditions at Factories

Nike, Inc. is often accused of its hazardous working conditions in its factories especially in the Asian countries. It has been alleged that it is using sweatshops to produce footwear and apparel since the 1970s. Initial denials from the authorities and Nike, Inc. itself made the situation even more complicated which affected its image globally. During the 1990s, Nike, Inc. installed the code of conduct for their factories with defined regulations for safety, security, optimum wages and overtime limits (Businessinsider.com, 2015). Since then, the working environment improved in the factories. Consumers always want their company to be socially responsible.

Technological Factors

• Innovation

Nike, Inc. is often referred as the Apple Inc. of apparel and footwear. It is regarded as the pioneer to introduce various products which enthralled the whole world. It has always adapted the latest technology to ameliorate their products. This technological innovation not only helped them to set ahead from their competitors but also refined and augmented the production process (About.nike.com, 2016). It is also one of the global brands which took a revolutionary step to curb the usage of chemicals and other raw materials which are detrimental for the environment. The latest popular product introduced by Nike, Inc. is Flyknit Racer which received acknowledgment globally (News.nike.com, 2016).

• Marketing Techniques

With the global rise in sales and impact, Nike, Inc. has also altered their marketing strategies to reach their customers and prospective consumers. The increase in advertising concentrating on the digital medium more than the traditional channels is one such step. Nike, Inc. uses online media and apps to reach the customers and popularize their different products. In the last few years, the market of online shopping has expanded which has given Nike, Inc. the opportunity to increase their base worldwide. Now, Nike, Inc. does not have to depend on their stores and franchises outlets to sell their popular footwear and apparel.
For the year 2015, Nike, Inc. reported a 55% increase in sales through web compared to last year. The figures touched $1.19 billion crossing the billion mark for the first time through the internet sales. It was $767 million in the fiscal year 2014 (Internetretailer.com, 2015).

Legal Factors

• Legal Battles with Adidas and Other Companies

The feud between Nike, Inc. and Adidas is not new. In the year 2014, Nike, Inc. filed a $10 million lawsuit on Adidas accusing the later for taking proprietary secrets, marketing plans and product designs when they recruited few former employees of Nike, Inc (Qz.com, 2015). Though Nike, Inc. enjoys undisputed dominance in North America, still these legal cases against the rival companies are an important factor which determines the future strategies. It is also engaged in various other legal battles which include the rights over the iconic ‘Jump man’ logo and footwear designs.

• Child Labor and Minimum Wage Allegations

Nike, Inc. had been accused of using child labor in its various factories located in Cambodia and Pakistan. They were used to prepare soccer balls. Although Nike, Inc. took extensive measures to stop this practice, it was rebuked globally and it also faced legal cases worldwide. Accordingly, in Indonesia, the laborers claimed to receive lower wages than the standards. Nike was sued in California for this illegal practice. However, the matter ended amicably, it was a considerable bolt to its reputation (Jennings, 2012). Though Nike, Inc. now follows a definite regulation still violations are not rare.

• Counterfeit Products

Nike, Inc. is one of the most counterfeited brands globally. It affects its annual revenue drastically. It is also regarded as the violation of intellectual rights and patented products when they are sold by fake brands claiming to be Nike, Inc. There are also some contract manufacturers which produce these products and sell them into the markets which directly affects the sales in that country (Philnike.blogspot.in, 2013). In a step to tackle the menace of counterfeit products, Nike, Inc. can monitor and ensure that their products are not sold widespread as these fake products can ruin the reputation of the company.

Environmental factors

• Global Warming and Environmental Concern

With the rising concern about global warming, it has become extremely important for the global companies to reduce waste which are harmful for the environment. In various countries the new environmental laws also restrict their production if they do not follow the specific laws. Through the usage of innovative manufacturing methods like Nike Flyknit technology, it strives to reduce the manufacturing waste in the supply chain and also reduce carbon emission and elimination of waste (About.nike.com, 2016). Nike, Inc. plays its role; however, still a lot needs to be done.

• Pollution Concern in China

Most of the factories of Nike, Inc. are located in the China. In the last few years, the Chinese government took extensive steps to check the pollution level in the country which has increased the production cost for the company drastically. The limited usage of fossil fuel and its regulations adds to their concern.

• Decrease Greenhouse Emission

Nike, Inc. is working to reduce their contribution towards greenhouse gas emissions throughout the value chain. It has formulated definite strategies to introduce new technology which will not only release less carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide but it will also decrease the need of basic raw materials (Reuters.com, 2016).

Conclusion

After assessing all these concerned factors, both internal and external, it will be safe to say that Nike, Inc. will continue to enjoy their dominant position in the industry. But the organization needs to work on their weaknesses and threats to strengthen their position. The footwear and apparel industry is very competitive, but Nike, Inc. has successfully dealt with every challenge through the years. Their impressive ability to alter their strategy and introducing new products from time to time has helped its revenue to grow every year. Lastly, Nike, Inc. will continue to rule the apparel and footwear industry in the years to come.

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Apple has witnessed strong sales growth in the year of 2015, and has wisely managed its cash flow, resulting in the company ending up on top of the Forbes 100 Most Valuable Brands (2015) list with a total capital of $416.62 billion. The company experienced 27.9% revenue growth in 12 months (ended September 2015).

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