Beaver, Oregon-headquartered multinational Nike said yesterday that it is to create a new division to focus on sales to women – one of its fastest expanding markets.

Headed as vice-president by Clare Hamill (45), a Nike veteran of nineteen years, the new unit will employ around one thousand staff and control product design, advertising and retail development of women's clothing, shoes and equipment.

The female-focused unit aims eventually to generate 30% of Nike’s annual sales (currently around 20%). Meanwhile, the shoe and sportswear manufacturer – the world’s largest – will at least double spending on women’s products in the current fiscal which ends in May. The hike in spend covers a number of initiatives, including a new high-ticket clothing line and an increase in the number of Nike’s shops-within-shops from 67 to 134.

Nike dominates the $5 billion US market with 34% share, leading Britain's Reebok International (19%) and Germany’s Adidas (7.5%).

News source: New York Times