Sportswear Brands: Athleisure brands double size of stores amid rising demand | #firefox | #chrome | #microsoftedge

Athleisure and sportswear brands are focusing more on experience at retail stores and doubling the size of outlets as covid increased the demand for products that are related to fitness, companies said.

Brands like Decathlon, Puma, Skechers, Firefox and Woodland have either expanded the same store or opening company-owned store of bigger size, which would be an experience centre for shoppers.

“Post covid, brands have realised customers are coming for full experience and expecting engagement from the brand. At our retail spaces, many athleisure brands have almost doubled presence as sales have gone up,” said Pushpa Bector, executive director at DLF Retail that operates several malls in National Capital Region (NCR).

Experts said that covid has given a big boost to consumption, specifically apparel sports and athleisure.

“Today’s consumer not only wants to stay healthy but also wants to live more of his life in the moment leading to increased consumption. Most brands have started getting traction on the fashion element of the lifestyle and athleisure products and are catering to the consumer who wants an outfit or accessories for each day and occasion,” said Shubhranshu Pani, a retail expert.

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This has led to brands investing in experience centres in metros to attract consumers and demonstrate the lifestyle offering.

“This year we will focus opening more exclusive brand outlets where we can offer whole experience of cycling at the store itself. In addition, we are adding biker accessories to tap the market, which has grown tremendously post covid. The athleisure as a trend has picked up and we are getting orders from remote towns,” said Sriram Sundresan, CEO, Firefox Bikes, which registered 10% y-o-y growth and is aiming to grow at 3X rate

in the FY 2022-23.

Retailers leased one million square feet of new space across malls and high streets of major cities in April-June quarter as 2022 is expected to see highest leasing since 2018 as retailers across segments look for bigger space.

With the growth of nearly 363% Y-o-Y and about 118% Q-o-Q, retail leasing is expected to double in the second half of 2022.

“We have now started adding more stores and average size of the store has definitely gone up, from 1500 sq ft to 3000 sq ft. Another reason is that we have added products, which are part of athleisure and sports category,” said Harkirat Singh, MD, Aero Club, maker of Woodland and Woods.

The company, in addition to adding bicycles to its offerings, has started a new business vertical, called A Skating Monk, that caters to the Indian street fashion wear market.

According to CBRE, despite an uptick in online shopping, brick-and-mortar retail is here to stay and retailers are likely to continue to focus on the three Rs – resizing, rightsizing and relocating – in order to ensure long-term growth and broaden their customer base.

“We will expand the presence of Enamor, which is our athleisure brand through exclusive brand outlets (EBOs) and we are aiming to open about 25 more stores in the next 12-16 months. The inner wear market and the casual wear market (also includes athleisure and lounge wear) is growing at 10-15% on the back of Covid-19 motivated shift and the growth is expected to continue over the next 3 to 5 years,” said Sunil Sethi, Executive Chairman, Modenik Lifestyle, parent company of Dixcy and Enamor.

Puma and Decathlon did not respond to ET’s email query. Skechers could not be contacted.

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