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Nike online sales return to levels from before Kaepernick ad 

Category: Finance,Retail

Nike's online sales have returned to the same level as before it revealed its controversial ad campaign with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

The campaign had sparked an initial jump in sales, with online sales climbing 27 percent between Sunday and Wednesday of Labor Day weekend, according to Edison Trends, a digital-commerce researcher. In the same period last year, product orders fell 2 percent. Kaepernick tweeted an image from the campaign on Labor Day.

Since then, however, online sales have declined by 18 percent compared with the Tuesday peak, leveling out to the same pace as before the ad.

Its share price, meantime, has also leveled out. Earlier this week, Nike shares recouped losses jolted by fears the ad would hurt sales. The stock is up 32 percent so far this year.

The campaign, launched to celebrate 30th anniversary of Nike's slogan "Just Do it,'' sparked immediate strong responses both in support and protest. Kaepernick has been a polarizing figure in the sports universe ever since he decided not to stand for the national anthem during a 2016 NFL preseason football game to protest racial injustice.

Sales declines seems to be steeper in more conservative states. According a state-by-state breakdown of sales since the advertisement, the campaign led the biggest drop in sales in Idaho, followed by Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana and West Virginia.

The largest jumps in sales occurred in Maryland, New Jersey, Alaska, Delaware and Massachusetts. With the exception of Alaska, those states tend to be more liberal.

Nike, which is set to report quarterly earnings later this month, said the campaign will also include other athletes such as Serena Williams, LeBron James, Lacey Baker, Shaquem Griffin and Odell Beckham Jr.

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