Walmart launches sportswear brand Love & Sports

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Diving Brief:

  • Walmart on Friday announced the launch of a private label activewear line, Love & Sports, according to a company press release. The brand is available on Walmart’s website and will be rolled out to 1,500 stores.
  • The brand was created in partnership with fashion designer Michelle Smith and SoulCycle instructor Stacey Griffith.
  • The first collection includes 121 women’s sportswear and swimwear. Sportswear is available in sizes XS to XXXL, while swim products will be available “in the coming days” and will be available in sizes XS to XXL. All products are priced between $12 and $42, and collections will drop seasonally, with shoes and accessories being introduced this fall.

Overview of the dive:

Walmart is expanding its sartorial ambitions, this time banking on the popularity of activewear.

The category has seen a surge due to the pandemic, with activewear up 37% in 2021, according to NPD Group data cited by Walmart.

Today, Walmart is focusing its efforts on a line created in partnership with a couple who know both fashion and athletics. Smith, along with her then-husband, Andrew Oshrin, founded the Milly fashion linewho was finally sold to a subsidiary de S. Rothschild in 2019. Griffith is a star instructor at SoulCycle, where they met.

“Love is what brought this whole collaboration to life,” Griffith said in a statement. “We want everyone to feel the joy we make.”

The collection they’ve produced with Walmart includes performance fabrics and apparel that embrace gym and street styles. The line consists of running shorts, cropped logo sweatshirts, nylon jackets, leggings, bike shorts and sports bras. The range includes details such as moisture-wicking fabrics, pockets, reflective strips and waistbands that can be rolled up to change from a high-waisted bottom to a low-waisted look.

Swimwear includes strapless one-piece suits, retrokini tops, halter bikini tops and bikini bottoms, in a range designed for both performance and leisure.

In a post for NPD Group last fall, senior industry advisor for sports, Matt Powell, has identified women’s sportswear as one of the biggest areas of retail opportunity. He said retail’s use of private label products is currently filling the void in the women’s market. “Private brands together account for nearly 44% of total women’s activewear sales, compared to Nike, the second largest brand, with 8% market share,” Powell said.

Following the trend, a number of retailers have pushed their efforts into the category. Early 2021, JC Penney unveiled a new iteration of its Xersion activewear line for kids, women and men, which also uses performance fabrics and is available in inclusive sizes. Target in 2020 announced a private label sportswear All in Motion brand. He continued to generate $1 billion in sales in his first year. Besides, expand into sportswear was a popular move for DTC brands like ThirdLove and Thinx, while Vuori has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to advance its efforts in the category. And category leader Lululemon topped $6 billion in revenue for the first time in 2021, driving 42% year-over-year revenue growth.

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