Can Nike Get Unstuck?

Once a brash, hard-running firm with soaring numbers, Nike lurched to a stop this year. A new product line and a new attitude are the keys to hitting its stride again

For the past couple of years, Nike's biggest business problem has been scraping the competition from the sole of its exquisitely designed, high-priced athletic shoes. Since 1995 Nike has racked up an astonishing average growth rate of 39%, sprinting from $4.8 billion to $9.2 billion in sales, capturing nearly half the athletic-shoe business in the U.S. while simultaneously expanding across the globe. In its last fiscal year, which ended in May, the company boosted sales more than 42% and posted earnings of almost $796 million. By any measure, that's a stunning year.

But since then Nike has been shooting bricks. Sales...

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