Nike to stop selling golf equipment

image copyrightReuters

Nike will stop selling golf clubs, balls and bags after years of falling sales at its golf division.

But the company said it would "accelerate innovation" in golf footwear and clothes.

Nike invested heavily in golf during the late 1990s with its sponsorship of Tiger Woods, giving him his first five-year contract in 1996, worth $40m.

But the winner of 14 of golf's major tournaments has been struggling with a loss of form in recent years.

In 2013 Nike signed a sponsorship deal with Rory Mcllroy, reported to be worth $100m over five years.

But despite that hefty spending on marketing, Nike has been struggling in the golf business.

Last year sales at Nike's golf unit fell by 8% to $706m, the third year of declining sales.

image copyrightBrian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

World number four McIlroy tweeted after the announcement: "Sad for @nikegolf employees that worked so hard and made genuinely great golf equipment. Your support will always be appreciated #TeamNike"

Nike said it still intends to "partner with more of the world's best golfers".

"We're committed to being the undisputed leader in golf footwear and apparel," said Trevor Edwards, president of Nike Brand.

"We will achieve this by investing in performance innovation for athletes and delivering sustainable profitable growth for Nike Golf."

Earlier this year Nike's rival Adidas announced its intention to sell most of its golf business.

It put its TaylorMade, Adams and Ashworth brands up for sale.

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