Kohl’s triples down on active lifestyle categories
Kohl’s announced plans to expand sales of activewear assortments from 20 percent to at least 30 percent of its total. The retailer set the goal while announcing a new mission to become “the most trusted retailer of choice for the active and casual lifestyle.”
Kohl’s has expanded its active category at a 10 percent compounded annual growth rate over the past three years and nearly doubled it since 2013. The retailer’s “Greatness Agenda” platform has focused on growing wellness categories as Americans have focused more on their health. Active and casual have also significantly outpaced other apparel categories during the pandemic.
In a PowerPoint for investors, Kohl’s detailed five ways it plans to further expand active:
- Fuel growth with key national brands: Expand assortments/collaborations and increase dedicated space for the big three athletic brands: Nike, Adidas and Under Armour;
- Amplify opportunity in athleisure: Introduce FLX, an expansive athleisure range in Spring 2021; grow existing brands (i.e., Champion, Vans); and curate and introduce emerging brands;
- Grow outdoor: Expand Columbia Sportswear across categories and introduce a Lands’ End collection, initially at 150 doors this fall;
- Expand inclusive sizes: Under Armour and Adidas Plus were launched earlier this year and Under Armour Big & Tall last fall. Inclusive sizing sales have outpaced the active category’s growth for Kohl’s and that’s expected to continue;
- Extended assortment online: Adding more sizes, colors and styles online and maximizing the fan apparel opportunity through its Fanatics partnership.
The expansion follows Kohl’s recent test of increased square footage dedicated to active in 160 stores by 25 percent. The chain also launched Adidas shops-in-shops in 175 locations and announced plans to eliminate eight “down-trending” women’s brands partly in favor of the active category.
Other growth priorities include reigniting growth in women’s apparel and expanding beauty.
Kohl’s active push appears to run counter to department stores’ traditional role of introducing fashion trends and bringing designers to the masses, although athletics are driving many streetwear trends.
Michelle Gass, Kohl’s CEO, said, “We are leaning into categories where we have demonstrated momentum and will drive more growth opportunities into the future.”
- Kohl’s Outlines New Strategic Vision with Heightened Focus on Active and Casual Lifestyle – Kohl’s
- Kohl’s Investor Presentation October 2020 – Kohl’s
- Kohl’s Announces Launch of New Private Label, Specialty Athleisure Brand – Kohl’s
- Kohl’s betting on new focus on leisure apparel – Bloomberg/Minneapolis Star Tribune
- Kohl’s Is Launching an Athleisure Brand as Active and Casual Fashion Soar in COVID-19 Times – Footwear News
- Kohl’s bets on more activewear, fewer store brands to finally get back to growth – Fortune
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does consumer interest in active and casual clothing represent a fundamental shift in behavior or a temporary response to current circumstances? Do you see more benefits or risks to Kohl’s as it increases its emphasis on athletic brands and assortments?