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Nike goes ahead with investment in new Arizona manufacturing plant


(Reuters) - Nike Inc said on Thursday it will open a manufacturing facility in Goodyear, Arizona, with a likely investment of at least $184 million, going ahead with the site after the state of Arizona last week withdrew an incentive package following the footwear maker's cancellation of a controversial sneaker.

Nike, which said the expansion is expected to generate more than 500 full-time jobs, made no mention of the loss of the $1 million incentive in its statement on the new facility.

Nike responded to a request for comment with a referral to its statement announcing the new plant.

Last week, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, withdrew the incentive for Nike to build the plant after the world's largest sportswear maker canceled the release of a sneaker featuring a colonial-era version of the American flag, which critics say reflects links to slavery.

Nike last week said it canceled the sneaker because it was concerned that it "could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation's patriotic holiday."

The Beaverton, Oregon-based company is one of a slew of retailers that have faced major backlash over products that draw criticism for being racially insensitive. In December, Prada pulled products accused of depicting blackface.

Arizona officials said financial incentives previously withdrawn have not been reinstated.

Nike said that building renovations will begin later this summer and production of Nike Air soles is expected to start in early 2020.

(Reporting by Aakash Jagadeesh Babu in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler)


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