Caracas — A Venezuelan customer of a supposed Nike sporting goods store located in the Sambil shopping mall in Caracas posted on social media after purchasing a pair of sneakers for $180 but which turned out to be defective, and which has revived concern in the country of the circulation of fake branded goods.
Social media users noticed after an Internet search that the address of the store in Caracas did not appear among the list of authorized stores on Nike’s official website, and neither did any of the other stores in Venezuela, while Nike has not responded to requests for comment by Bloomberg Línea.
José Alejandro Lossada, president of the Federation of Venezuelan Retailers (Fedecomercio), told Bloomberg Línea that the company that owns the brand’s concession in Venezuela has been operating for 20 years, in addition to representing other brands in the country, such as Victorinox, Speedo and Wilson Sporting Goods.
“They are entrepreneurs with a long history in our country (...) at Fedecomercio we have proof of them having obtained a license, and it is very unlikely that today they are operating without due authorization from the parent company,” said Lossada.
However, this is not the first US brand present in Venezuela whose authenticity has been questioned in recent years.
At the end of 2021, the inauguration in the east of the Venezuelan capital of an alleged Starbucks store raised eyebrows in a country economically sanctioned by the US, and which triggered an official statement from the coffee shop chain disassociating itself from the Caracas branch.
“What we did was to acquire the equipment [to prepare the coffee] and the product,” said Jorge Nieves, head of YEET!, the company that used the Starbucks logo, prior to dismantling everything related to the brand in the coffee shop.
Days after the complaint went viral on social networks, the dissatisfied Nike customer shared a second video from the store, highlighting that the case had been solved with a change of shoes, offering apologies to the company’s staff while filming the inside of the store.