By  on December 4, 2013

PARIS — Hennes & Mauritz AB is competing harder in the sports arena.

The Swedish high-street retailer will reveal today that it is launching H&M Sport, an expanded concept with a new visual identity, on Jan. 2 in all its markets worldwide.

Dedicated areas in selected stores will feature activewear and accessories including windproof and water-repellent running jackets; warm-up tops and trousers for working out; comfortable garments for yoga; tennis shorts, and protective fleece jackets for outdoor activities.

H&M signaled its intention to deepen its sportswear offering earlier this year when it said it would dress Sweden’s athletes for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi, Russia, next year and the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

The new H&M Sport collection for women, men and children has been designed with input from members of the Swedish Olympic team and will feature “fashionable” products with a “focus on fit and performance,” the retailer said.

“Sport and fitness is becoming an increasingly important part of all of our lifestyles, and the new H&M Sport is there to help you look and feel great,” said Ann-Sofie Johansson, creative head of design at H&M.

Swedish swimmer and Olympic medalist Therese Alshammar is one of the sports personalities who have provided feedback on the collection.

“What we wear definitely makes a difference when we compete,” she said. “Our focus has been checking the pieces for fit and function, for performance and also comfort.”

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H&M began ramping up its sports offering in 2012 with a special collection for men and women featuring outfits suitable for yoga, running, working out, leisure wear or cycling. Last winter, it reintroduced skiwear.

Earlier this year, it signed Czech tennis star Tomás Berdych as brand ambassador, marking the first time H&M clothing was worn on court by a top-ranking tennis player.

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