Spanx has its sights set on categories outside of shapewear, a sector of the intimate apparel market that is facing challenges.
According to the NPD Group, shapewear sales in the U.S. declined by double digits in 2016 to $604 million. Spanx, which was started by Sara Blakely in 2000, is hoping to counteract this by growing the assortment and homing in on the bra, legging and ath-leisure categories.
Although Spanx launched its Bra-llelujah style in 2008, it has tweaked the bra and expanded on the original concept. The foundation of the bra is a hosiery back, front closure and soft straps that are free from hardware. Now the collection includes a full coverage option and a racer-back silhouette. In the coming months the brand will release an unlined style along with more color options. The line retails from $48 to $68.
“Shapewear is known for being neutral so we want to add more color to our collection,” said Christine Miller, senior director of communications at Spanx.
To add an element of sexiness to the line, the company has introduced its first lace collection called Spotlight on Lace, which targets the bridal market but is wearable for every day. Spanx just released a lace bralette that retails from $48 to $52 and is available in sizes XS through 2X.
The Atlanta-based company has a Sheer Fashion collection coming out for fall, which will include sheer body suits and crop tops with contour sleeves. It will retail from $48 to $54. The brand is also is doubling down on its leggings and ath-leisure collections.
For the past few seasons the company has been targeting a younger consumer by seeding product to influencers and taking out its first ads in magazines and web sites including Cosmopolitan, People, O, The Oprah Magazine and Refinery 29 last year.
“Sara launched this line when she was 29 years old and a generation of entrepreneurial women have grown up with her,” said Miller. “Now it’s time to bring another generation of women into the fold.”
To further help with this effort, Spanx has set up its first New York showroom, which will also serve as an event space for influencers and the sales team, that’s equipped with two heat stamping machines so visitors can customize their items. This past week the company held a Camp Spanx activation where guests could create a custom fragrance, lounge in a teepee and try on the new bra collection. The space will also make it easier for media to pull product. In the past media has had to wait to receive product from Spanx’s headquarter in Atlanta.
On the retail front, Spanx, which operates 10 stores in high-performing malls in the U.S. and four airport stores, plans to open another airport store in Tampa, Fla., increase its footprint within department stores and invest more in the direct to consumer experience.
Last year, Blakely revealed that she would be involved in Spanx on a more day-to-day basis after Jan Singer, who was hired as chief executive officer in 2014, left the company.