Women’s apparel could be good for fitness retailers

Women control approximately $12 trillion of the overall $18.4 trillion in global consumer spending, according to the Boston Consulting Group. Carrying women’s-specific sportswear could help some specialty fitness retailers get a piece of the $157.2 million women spent on sportswear in specialty outdoor stores in 2011.

Selling apparel may be a smart move for some specialty fitness retailers — especially at a time when people might be reluctant to make a big purchase like an elliptical or treadmill.

Women’s apparel company Moving Comfort recently launched its Fall 2012 line called “Urban Gym” which might be a good fit for certain specialty fitness retailers as it includes the full gamut from sports bras to hoodies. Plus, the Boston Consulting Group recently reported women control $12 trillion of the overall $18.4 trillion in global consumer spending.

Women’s apparel company Lole has offerings that also might fit nicely into the fitness retail space, including its line of new sports bras. In 2011, women spent approximately $157.2 million on sportswear in specialty outdoor stores, up 4.6 percent from 2010. Specialty fitness retailers that dabble in apparel could get a piece of that action. 

Kick Sass

Though Moving Comfort started with the launch of a running short and has become most well-known for its sports bras, representatives from the company claim the new Urban Gym line is “kick sassy” and can be used on a home gym, at the local gym or for a jog or run outdoors.

“Our heritage is in run and [the line] appeals to the Crossfit craze participants,” said Sara Woods, Moving Comfort’s marketing manager. The apparel, she said, could also be used for Pilates, yoga or Crossfit classes.

Many pieces in the collection are made from the company’s S.Cafe fabric, which feels like cotton but is made with recycled coffee grounds that are supposed to help with dispersing moisture and controlling sweat odors. The company has used the S.Cafe fabric in its sports bras before, but this is the fabric’s first foray into other apparel, like the Urban Gym tank (MSRP $52), a fashionable, two-layer tank that can go from workouts out to running errands.

Choosing apparel to sell that is along these lines is smart because Nathalie Binda, vice president of marketing for Lole, said this is the current trend.

“Another trend which we think exists among the women’s market is the component of making sure the active wear can blend back to your everyday wear,” Binda said.

Another cozy piece from Moving Comfort’s line is the Urban Gym Sweatshirt (MSRP $75), which has a 1980s Flashdance look and includes a subtle sparkle fabric sewn into the piece.

“Cut sweatshirts are really trending right now,” Woods told SNEWS.

Another interesting fabric in the line is Moving Comfort’s DryLayer fabric, which SNEWS has tested in the form of a hat and gloves during cold outdoor runs. The fabric is soft to the touch, effectively wicks away moisture and doesn’t hold onto odors.

The DryLayer fabric is in the company’s Nochill ½ Zip pullover (MSRP $98).

Protecting the ladies

Moving Comfort is known for its sports bras, and sports bras can be a great item to sell if you have the expertise on staff to help your female customers.

Moving Comfort is releasing a few new styles for fall 2012 including the lab-tested Jubrilee (MSRP $54), which comes in sizes from B to E. The bra has front-adjustable straps making it easier for women to adjust their bras on the go. The Jubralee also features the S.Cafe Fabric with added UV protection. While Moving Comfort has options for the larger-busted ladies, Lole is focusing on the small- to medium-chested women.

Lole previously dabbled in sports bras, but Binda said the company is going all-out this time around offering cute, colorful sports bras that can be worn as alone as tops as well. They come in three styles, low-impact (MSRP $42), mid-impact (MSRP $42) and high-impact (MSRP $50).

–Ana Trujillo