NEW YORK — Sweaty Betty, the British activewear brand, has unveiled a 531-square-foot concession at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship. Three of the retailer’s six Lexington Avenue windows are devoted to the brand. A similar space is set to open in May at Bloomingdale’s at the Mall at Short Hills in Short Hills, N.J. and the retailer is in active discussions about further expansion, said Brooke Jaffe, operating vice president and fashion director of ready-to-wear.
Sweaty Betty operates two freestanding stores in the U.S., one in Greenwich, Conn., and another in SoHo. Simon Hill-Norton, chief executive officer of Sweaty Betty, said a stand-alone store will open in the Flatiron District at the end of May. Hill-Norton’s wife, Tamara, is the founder of Sweaty Betty.
“We’ll continue opening stand-alone stores,” Hill-Norton said. “We have an online business and mail catalogues to the U.S., so we know where our customers are living. The most natural next location will be Los Angeles in the next year or so. We know we have customers on the Upper East Side and we’re happy to serve them through Bloomingdale’s.”
A feature of some Sweaty Betty stores is a yoga studio where customers can “stretch it out with the team.”
Since launching in 1998, the brand has grown to 16 stores in London and 21 elsewhere in the U.K.
The Bloomingdale’s development is “very exciting for us as a brand,” Hill-Norton said. “It signifies [Bloomingdale’s] intention to make some real progress with women’s activewear. We were approached by Bloomingdale’s a few years ago when they anticipated the growth of this sector and were keen to have us be the cornerstone of this area. They want to build a credible activewear department.”
Hill-Norton said the company was attracted to Bloomingdale’s “because they’ve embraced the concession model. It’s our team and our stock, and we built the store. We have control over the customer experience.” Bloomingdale’s gets a percentage of sales.
The Sweaty Betty shop is located on the second floor, along with “some really good brands like Maje, Sandro, Ted Baker and Whistles,” Hill-Norton said. “Those are the fashion names we like to be next to.”
“Our customer is looking for wearable, fun and performance-focused activewear for actual workouts as well for her daily life routine,” Jaffe said. “Sweaty Betty is a brand focused on this woman so there is a natural synergy. They have done a great job balancing ‘ath-leisure’ essentials like the all-purpose legging but infused great color and print into the line. The shop makes you happy when you walk in and motivates you to want to work out. It’s fashion forward yet accessible and understandable as well.”