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Nordstrom to expand in entirely new category via deal with Fanatics

Nordstrom fanatics
Nordstrom has teamed up with Fanatics to sell licensed sports merchandise.
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Nordstrom is beefing up its online assortment by entering the licensed sports merchandise category for the first time in its history.

The department store retailer has entered into a partnership with Fanatics, a digital platform that sells licensed sports merchandise, to offer thousands of sports products on the new Sports Fan Shop. The retailer will power the front-end digital customer experience. Fanatics will then fulfill and ship the orders to customers.

The assortment will feature merchandise from top leagues, including the NFL, NCAA, NBA, MLB and more. The selection is from Fanatics’ extensive merchandise portfolio and includes brands such as Fanatics, Nike, Adidas and Mitchell & Ness.

Fanatics will also make championship products and other real-time items available that are designed and manufactured on-demand through the company’s vertical commerce business model and agile supply chain. 

The partnership is in line with Nordstrom’s long-term strategy to reduce traditional wholesale to 50% from 85% of overall sales and expand its online assortment through non-wholesale models. The company said its customer-centric, digital-first, data-driven approach to merchandising identified growth opportunities in the licensed sports category within its customer base.

Through this innovative partnership model and new product category, we can now meet the needs of sports enthusiasts and the people who shop for them,” said Teri Bariquit, chief merchandising officer at Nordstrom. “Since Fanatics is the industry leader in this category and a digital-first company with strong investments in technology, they made the perfect fit for us to differentiate our offer and give customers increased selection to discover.”

In October, Fanatics raised $325 million from new and existing investors, with the new investors including hip-hop and entertainment mogul Jay Z and his Roc Nation firm. The funding valued the company at $18 billion.

This is Fanatics’ second big deal in recent months. In October, the company entered into a similar partnership with Macy’s. Fanatics also has deals with other retailers, including Walmart and J.C. Penney.

“Fanatics is incredibly excited to partner with Nordstrom and provide its shoppers with access to a new selection of officially licensed sports merchandise for the first time,” said Jack Boyle, global co-president, direct-to-consumer, Fanatics. “We look forward to introducing this new category to their business and creating an elevated experience for all members of the family to celebrate their pride and passion on gamedays and beyond.”

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