LONDON — Fabletics is continuing its ambitious foray into European retail, with a pop-up space on Regent Street.
Spanning 2,400 square feet and two floors, the space will offer the brand’s full activewear ranges, fitness classes and the opportunity to trial at-home rowing machines.
The company — which was started with an all-digital approach by Kate Hudson, Adam Goldenberg and Don Ressler — has been doubling down on brick-and-mortar retail, starting with 70 doors across the U.S. and is looking to expand its footprint internationally.
As its biggest European market, the U.K. made for the perfect testing ground. Another store has recently opened in Berlin, which is the company’s second largest market in the continent.
“Brexit has had no impact on the customer-facing side of the Fabletics business. The U.K. continues to be our strongest market in Europe, and we have seen growth continue pre- and post-Brexit,” said Gerrit Müller, president international of the TechStyle Fashion Group that owns Fabletics, adding that the company was able to navigate complex customs processes by opening a warehouse outside London, which ended up improving its local customer service.
Although the Regent Street space is temporary, Müller said “Fabletics retail is here to stay,” and the store will serve as a trial for other permanent spaces in the future.
“We will focus on really learning, developing and optimizing our retail store concept. There is no better place to learn from and engage with our customers than on one of the busiest and most prestigious shopping destinations globally — Regent Street,” he said. “We want to be confident that we are providing our members with the best possible experience and are eager to understand any differences we might encounter in Europe.”
Even as the world opens up and shoppers seek to satisfy their cravings for dress-up, the lifestyle changes introduced by yearlong lockdowns are here to stay according to Müller, as is the growth opportunity for active- and loungewear.
“The loungewear market is estimated to be worth $9.98 billion by 2027, according to a recent research report by Market Research Future, providing Fabletics a massive opportunity for growth. Capitalizing on the ongoing demand for loungewear, we have launched a category that applies the best of Fabletics activewear to loungewear, and opens up a new growth opportunity for us,” he added.
What’s changed is that the standard for the in-store experience is even higher — hence the company’s big in-store promotions for the first three days of the store launch: private barre classes for VIP members, fitting room technology and focus on omnichannel selling.
“We see the future of the retail landscape as a blend between physical and e-commerce. For many brands, convincing shoppers to come back in-store post-pandemic is the biggest push. For many consumers, the shift to online has become the norm as COVID-19 forced them to adapt new habits. In 2022, as the world continues to open up, incentivizing people to come back to the physical shops take more than promotions — it needs to focus on recreating the shopping experience they missed, while incorporating the ease of browsing online,” said Müller.