Posts Tagged 'Athleta'

The impact of “activewear as sportswear”

It seems more apparent than ever that some of the “women’s apparel” problem is actually a long-term lifestyle change. RetailWire panelists discussed this in the context of Gap’s Athleta activewear division:

I was in Madison, Wisconsin last week and walked down the pedestrian mall running from the state capitol to the University. It was impossible to ignore that the vast majority of women were wearing “activewear as streetwear” — in particular, black yoga pants instead of jeans. And these were college students for whom jeans would have been “the uniform” five years ago.

On the last wave of quarterly earnings calls, most retailers complained about the lack of traction in their women’s sportswear businesses — while mentioning the rapid growth of fitness wear. It’s increasingly clear that activewear is cannibalizing more traditional women’s apparel, so Gap ought to push the growth of its Athleta brand as hard as it can for as long as this lifestyle shift continues.

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Dick’s takes on a small-format concept

Dick’s Sporting Goods announced a test concept (Chelsea Collective) dedicated to yoga and fitness wear in a small-format concept. While the length of the product life cycle for “athleisure” is uncertain in length, it’s worth a shot, as I discuss on today’s RetailWire forum:

It’s a worthwhile experiment for Dick’s to try a small-format store dedicated to the growing “athleisure” business. There are plenty of customers for yoga and fitness apparel (whether for use at the gym or on the street) who would rather not shop for it in a big-box store among the golf clubs, elliptical machines and so forth. It’s also a chance for Dick’s to take a high-margin concept to the mall or lifestyle center…although it will find plenty of competition between Lululemon, Athleta and others in the same space.

Target plans a fitnesswear specialty store

Target is always worth watching, as a recent discussion on RetailWire suggests. They are opening a store dedicated to activewear under the exclusive brand “C9” — and this has some real legs if it’s successful:

This is an interesting development for several reasons. Target has obviously paid attention to the success of specialty retailers like Lululemon and Athleta, and the same concept at mass price points could be a winner. It also follows the growing trend of “smaller is better” relative to the massive scale of sporting goods like Dick’s and The Sports Authority, where fitnesswear is a small part of the assortment.

It’s not clear from the articles whether the Target “brand” will be attached to the stores or whether they will identified strictly as C9 Active Apparel. But it’s a winning idea with a lot of growth opportunity across the country — as well as a foothold into mall locations with other niche Target brands.


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