Activewear Provides Promise in Uncertain Times

Posted Monday April 28, 2014 12:45 PM GMT

With the global financial crises of the past few years, the fashion industry has taken a hit just like any other merchandising market, but the growing popularity of the activewear realm has restored order to many companies.

Per a WWD report, retailers like Macy’s can’t seem to get enough of the new offerings from brands like Adidas AG, Stella McCartney, Mary Katrantzou and the like.

Macy’s CEO Terry J. Lundgren gushed, “We’ve really gone after the athletic business. It’s a business that’s just unbelievably — it’s just unbelievably strong compared to what we used to do. It’s not even close, and with that, it has had a direct positive impact on our apparel.”

For instance, he continued, “We had 181 locations that had the Finish Line product this past year. We’ll have 450 locations this year.…We want to get into this business for one reason and the reason is: I want to sell the apparel. I want to sell the athletic apparel, but the way this customer, particularly the young person, dresses is they start with their tennis shoes, they start with their footwear, and then they dress from there and they match up.”

Meanwhile, NPD Group analyst Marshal Cohen has seen similar trends. “Activewear is the bright spot in apparel right now because the consumer has decided to wear it whether she works out at the gym or not. We haven’t seen this sort of excitement in activewear since Juicy Couture’s velour jogging suit.…Retailers are going to start chasing this category big time, and I think stores are going to get into this and stay. [Retailers] are just starting to get it, because it caught them a little by surprise. The reason is it’s a consumer-driven trend, not something designed and merchandised in advance or shown in a showroom. The consumer is creating the trend.”

“It isn’t just the youth market that’s driving activewear’s growth; it’s men and women who are building their wardrobes with active apparel instead of the jeans they used to buy. You are literally watching the jeans business switch places with activewear.”

Photo Credit: George Chinsee

filed under Activewear, Fashion

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