Athleta plots its first factory outlets

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Diving Brief:

  • While Athletica seeks scale, the brand of athletics is the opening of its first two factory outlets, according to a press release from the company. The new locations count towards the company’s goal of opening 30 to 40 stores this year.
  • A location in Chicago Premium Outlets is scheduled to open this summer, while a store in Leesburg Premium Outlets in Virginia will open in the fall.
  • The outlets will offer Athleta shoppers a “curated assortment” of the brand’s performance and lifestyle products.

Overview of the dive:

Athleta is firmly focused on growth, calling its first two factory outlets a “milestone” in building its store base. The locations join 12 other stores that Athletica has already opened this year in North America and represent a new model of interaction with shoppers.

“As part of our long-term strategic growth plan, Athleta is investing in new access points to reach new customers, deliver new value to customers who already know and love our brand, and expand our community of women and empowered girls,” Mary Beth Laughton, president and CEO of Athleta, said in a statement. “Our new outlet stores are intentionally designed to differentiate themselves from traditional outlet and clearance store models, helping to attract new customers and increase awareness of the Athleta brand.”

As Gap Inc. strives to turn around its namesake and Banana Republic brands, Athleta has become a bright spot and a driver of growth. The clothing company is striving to expand Athletica beyond its core, with deals last year for bring the brand to over 100 REI stores and open a store in Canada.

Canada, the brand’s first expansion outside the United States, is a “strategic growth priority” for Athleta and its parent company. The athletics brand has three stores open in the region, and in June announced four additional locations which will open this fall. As Athletica announced the opening of its first retail locations in the United States, the company also highlighted its first progress in Canada, saying customer acquisition in the region exceeded expectations by 40% in the first quarter. .

Opening outlet stores is a way for Athleta to potentially reach more budget-conscious customers, and could also help the brand eliminate excess inventory at a time when much of the industry is struggling. with inventory levels. Athletics retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods tested a variety of customs clearance concepts above last two years as the pandemic rocked retail. In May, CEO Lauren Hobart called her concept Going, Going, Gone in particular for help eliminate excess inventory.