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Nike shares get downgraded due to basketball shoe ‘inventory glut’

  • Susquehanna lowers its rating for Nike shares to neutral from positive, citing increasing promotional activity for its shoes.
  • "We have no doubt that Nike management recognizes this and is in the process of correcting the inventory glut. However, oversupply, partially due to lack of innovation within the basketball category, is not something that will be corrected overnight," the firm's analyst writes.
  • Nike underperformed the market year to date with its shares up 5 percent through Monday, compared with the S&P 500's 12 percent return.
A KAWS x Air Jordan IV buyer looks at the shoe at a store on March 31, 2017 in Berlin, Germany.
Getty Images
A KAWS x Air Jordan IV buyer looks at the shoe at a store on March 31, 2017 in Berlin, Germany.

Nike sneakers are piling up on retailers' shelves due to poor demand, according to one Wall Street firm.

Susquehanna lowered its rating for Nike shares to neutral from positive on Tuesday, citing increasing promotional activity for its shoes.

"The performance of key marquee basketball product has slowed, as Nike continues to barrage the market with launch product. Additionally, checks with industry sources indicate Nike continues to force premium wholesale accounts (tier zero accounts) to buy large allotments of in-line/tertiary product, compounding the oversupply issue," analyst Sam Poser wrote in a note to clients.

"We have no doubt that Nike management recognizes this and is in the process of correcting the inventory glut. However, oversupply, partially due to lack of innovation within the basketball category, is not something that will be corrected overnight."

Nike has underperformed the market this year with its shares up 5 percent through Monday, compared with the S&P 500's 12 percent return.

The analyst lowered his price target for Nike to $54 from $64, representing 1 percent upside from Monday's close.

Poser noted that Foot Locker's website revealed 60 percent to 70 percent of Nike's and the company's Jordan-branded basketball shoes are being discounted.

"Recent proprietary checks indicate an inordinate amount of signature basketball (KDs, Lebrons, Kobe) and, to a lesser extent, Jordan retro product is being sold at Nike Factory stores," he wrote. "Nike appears to have misjudged the appetite for some key marquee basketball product."

Nike did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

— CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to this story.