Nike Is Losing Share in One Key Market It Used to Dominate

Updated with comments from Jim Cramer.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It may be tough for mighty Nike (NKE) to admit, but some U.S. consumers are starting to run towards competitor's offerings in one of its key businesses.

That business is running sneakers priced under $100, a market segment that the Oregon-based powerhouse has long dominated. In fact, Nike was founded in 1964 on its ability to sell a better running shoe at a reasonable price.

According to Nike's third quarter 10-Q filing with the SEC, which covered the period ending Feb. 28, 2015, sales of running footwear declined. The company pinned the blame on a sales drop in North America stemming from "lower sales of entry level products."

A large fraction of those entry level products a sneakers from Nike's Roshe Run line, which often retail for below $100. On the other hand, Nike said its higher-priced, performance running styles, such as those using its Flyknit technology, continued to sell briskly. Shoes in that category generally sell for around $119 to $149 a pair. 

Going back to Nike's fiscal second quarter, Nike also appeared to be having problems selling cheaper running shoes due to improved styles from Under Armour (UA), Adidas, Puma and Reebok. At that time, Nike said in its SEC filing that sneakers using technologies such as the Nike Free, Max Air, Lunar, Zoom Air and Flyknit lines helped to drive a 21% sales increase in footwear, excluding the impact of currency. Nike did not break out the performance in its North America running shoe business at that time.

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