- Gap has launched a new men’s athletic wear brand called Hill City, which has an average price point of $US80.
- The company is doubling down on athletic wear to boost sales as it continues to be a bright spot in the apparel industry.
- Lululemon is also focusing on men’s clothing.
Gap is doubling down on athleisure to boost sales.
On Monday, the retail giant launched Hill City, its new men’s clothing brand that is sold online and at 50 Athleta stores.
The new collection features a mix of athletic and casual wear, such as shorts, hoodies, and light jackets, which have an average price point of $US80. Running pants cost $US98; shorts cost between $US58 and $US78.
Athletic wear continues to be a bright spot in the apparel industry. In 2017, US activewear sales totaled $US48 billion and accounted for 22% of total apparel sales, according to The NPD Group.
Gap’s athletics brand, Athleta, has become one of the most successful areas of its business. In its most recent earnings results, management said that the 2% same-store sales growth at Gap Inc. was largely driven by the success of its Old Navy brand and Athleta. Teri List-Stoll, EVP and CFO of Gap Inc., described these stores as “engines of growth.”
Gap is clearly looking at how it can optimise Athleta’s growth, and menswear seems like a logical place to start given that the store is currently only targeted toward female shoppers.
“Active is a key growth area for Gap Inc. and Hill City is our response to consistent feedback from customers looking for a premium men’s product that combines highly technical fabrications, performance, and style,” Gap Inc. CEO Art Peck said in a statement to the press in September.
Adding menswear also allows Gap to better compete with other industry players who are also focusing on this customer.
Lululemon, one of Athleta’s key competitors whose bread and butter has long been women’s yoga pants and workout clothing, is well into its strategy to grow menswear into a $US1 billion business by 2020. In Lululemon’s quarterly earnings call in May, COO Stuart Haselden said that 30% of the new customers added in the first quarter were men.
Haselden said that they were reeling these customers in with casual wear, specifically, the men’s office travel commute line. The ABC (anti-ball-crushing) pant is one of its most popular items in this category, and it’s paving the way. These $US128 stretchy pants are Lululemon’s version of comfortable jeans.
“The ABC pant in men’s is probably one of the best. It’s clear that our guests have an appetite for this,” Haselden said.
He added: “We’re being pulled into these categories versus pushing our way into them, if you will.”
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