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Women's Fitness Apparel Battle Heats Up

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 25, 2011 05:00 PM

You may think the heat is from your workout, but it may be from the energy that brands are suddenly putting into creating attractive workout clothes for women.

The Los Angeles Times, in an article reviewing women's fitness apparel brands, points out that women who are active generally fall into a very desirable demographic: “female, relatively young, fashion-forward and willing to spend money.”

“We are hungry to win this girl over,” commented Adrienne Lofton Shaw, a marketing director at Under Armour, which has stepped up its focus on women, recently expanded into yoga-wear and, for next year, is redesigning its underwear and sports bras, according to Times. Other brands shaping up to woo the emerging woman warrior demographic?

Lululemon is making additions to its running and yoga clothing and trying new things out in its cycling division as well as opening new stores. Meanwhile, Gap Inc.’s Athleta brand, which used to only be online and in a catalog form, is opening up to seven stores this year and plans to open 50 by 2013.

Beyond the usual suspects — Nike, Adidas, Puma — retailers are getting in the game, too, with chains including Forever 21, Gap (through its GapBody sub-brand), Nordstrom, Victoria’s Secret, and Target wooing women with workout wear, either introduced or expanded in the past year.

“It’s an underserved, under-represented market that’s growing,” said Howard Tubin, a retail analyst at RBC Capital Markets, to the LA Times. “There is certainly competition, but there’s room for retailers to pick off a little bit.”

“The assortment that has historically been available to them has generally been reverse-engineered from a male garment, made smaller and made pink,” said Scott Key, SVP at Athleta, to the Times. “Women are demanding true performance items, but that are attuned to their specific needs.”

Below: Lulelemon teases YouTubers with its latest apparel for women —

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