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Volume 24 No. 156
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     In this morning's HARTFORD COURANT, Stephen Williams
examines the sale of sneakers in urban areas compared with the
suburbs.  In Hartford, shoes from Nike, Reebok etc. are available
in the suburbs, but not in the cities, because the large footwear
makers "restrict sales of their products in efforts to protect
their supplies and prices.  That often means small retailers --
many of them urban -- can't get them.  Ironically, athletic
footwear and Timberland hiking boots and clothing is extremely
popular in urban areas throughout the nation, and much of the
footwear makers' advertising has an urban focus."  Robert Logan,
owner of an independent shoe store in North Hartford:  "It's
easier for young people in this neighborhood to get drugs than it
is to get Nike merchandise."  Footwear makers say distribution
restrictions are "simply sound business decisions.  If their
products were sold at every retail outlet that wanted them," they
claim it would drive the price down.  The report gives many other
examples of all the hurdles urban shoe retailers have had to jump
in order to carry Nike, Reebok, Fila, Adidas or Timberland
merchandise.  Donovan Cooper, owner of a sportswear store: "All
you have to do is go into any of the black stores and you don't
see the merchandise.  It's ironic that Michael Jordan is making
millions of dollars promoting sneakers to young black kids."
Nike spokesperson Keith Peters: "We do not address our
advertising to the inner-city. ... [Michael Jordan and Spike Lee]
are cultural icons.  We are very sensitive and do a lot in the
minority community" (HARTFORD COURANT, 10/31).
critical of a lack of effort in marketing to women and
minorities: "If the leaders in pro sports do not make a
concentrated effort to attract young people, women and people of
color to their games, where are sellout crowds of the future
going to come from?" (INSIDE SPORTS, 12/94).