TUCSON, ARIZ. — Not everyone in the ath-leisure space can be a winner.
Fabletics general manager Gregg Throgmartin pointed to some market realities that may be signaling rationalization within the sector that could trim a bit of the fat within the industry.
Throgmartin spoke at the annual Global Retailing Conference taking place here through Friday. While the executive peeled back the layers on all the ways the company is using data to making smarter merchandising moves and get closer to its customers, Throgmartin also made mention of perhaps a broader reality beginning to set in within the market segment in which it competes.
“[Ath-leisure] is clearly a very popular trend and there’s a new person getting in it every day, right?” the executive said of the market. “A new celebrity or a new retailer that’s launching their own line.”
But there’s been a sobering within the industry even as spandex’s popularity afforded many, including Fabletics, to enter and thrive in the space. The executive pointed to VF Corp.’s plan to wind down its Lucy ath-leisure brand and meld it in with The North Face this year. There was also the Chapter 11 filing of YogaSmoga Inc. late last year.
“I think you’re going to see more and more of that because you can’t just make a set of black leggings and put a price on it and expect it to sell,” Throgmartin said.
At the same time, the executive said, leggings aren’t going anywhere.
The three-year-old brand, fronted by Kate Hudson, sold 16 million items last year with a $250 million annual revenue run rate. The company has also quickly expanded on the brick-and-mortar side with 19 stores. Fabletics, part of TechStyle Fashion Group (previously JustFab Inc.), counts more than 1.2 million members.
The company’s members, Throgmartin said, visit the Fabletics site 38 times each year.
“That’s what allows me to sleep at night,” he said.
The company tested a men’s activewear brand in 2015, called FL2. “We had some success with it,” he said, “but we really stepped back with it and said we’ve got this [women’s] business that we know is a rocket ship that we could feed even more.”
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