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Sneakernomics: The State of the U.S. Activewear Market

May 31, 2018
Matt Powell, Vice President, Senior Industry Advisor ;
Sports

Activewear sales in the U.S. from February through April 2018 were essentially flat, as the proliferation of fashion brands emulating performance wear continues to take its toll.

Women’s activewear sales declined in the low single-digits, with particular weakness in active bottoms and bras. Kids’ activewear was flat, while the men’s market was a bright spot – sales grew in the low singles driven by sweatshirts and active bottoms.

As we saw in footwear, premium department stores grew in the mid-teens, while mid-tier grew in the mid singles. Athletic specialty/sporting goods had a low single digit decline. Department stores now capture more activewear sales than the true sports channels.

Sales of activewear bottoms, the largest category, were flat, as weakness in women’s offset gains in men’s. Sweatshirts improved in the low teens while outerwear tops grew in the mid-singles.

Knit shirts and socks declined in the low singles, as did bras. Swimwear got off to a slow start with a low single-digit decline.

The aggregation of all retailers’ private brands was again the largest “brand” and grew a whopping 20 percent during these three months. Retailers will continue to seek refuge here from the highly promotional environment.

Nike brand had a mid-single digit increase, while Under Armour posted a low teens decline. adidas activewear sales grew more than 40 percent.

Hanes grew while Fruit of the Loom declined. Champion had a 40 percent sales increase.

Columbia saw a decline while The North face improved in the low singles. Patagonia had an outstanding performance, with sales up about half.

Source: The NPD Group/ Retail Tracking Service, February-April 2018



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