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Fabletics Plans 75 New Stores As Athleticwear Market Heats Up

Fabletics Plans 75 New Stores As Athleticwear Market Heats Up

Fabletics plans to open 75 new stores across the U.S. and overseas, in an effort to stand out in a highly competitive retail segment that includes lululemon, Gap's Athleta, Nike and Tory Burch Sport, according to CNBC. The expansion will bring Fabletics’ total store count to 100.

A Fabletics store opening later this year in Bellevue, Wa. will feature a new design that includes a high-tech payment processing system, a leggings bar and a selfie wall for photo-ops. A spokeswoman for the company declined to give a time frame for the remainder of the U.S. store openings.

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Following on its plan to grow globally, Fabletics will open stores in the Philippines this fall, with other overseas markets overseas being targeted for 2019, according to CNBC.

The expansion comes as competition in women’s athleticwear is on the rise. Nike plans to invest more in its women’s athletic apparel category and Athleta is making a push by opening new stores, while startups like Outdoor Voices and Alo Yoga aim to disrupt the leggings and sports bra industry with patterns and motivational mantras. 

To help foster its growth, Fabletics recently hired three execs to its leadership and design teams:

  • Karen Pornillos, most recently of lululemon, as VP of Design and Fashion Director;
  • Shefali Shah, most recently of Victoria’s Secret, as VP of Merchandising; and
  • Nancy Arnold, most recently of Chloe + Isabel, as VP and Creative Director.

While the privately held retailer does not release financial results, spokeswoman Alexis Blais told CNBC that Fabletics, which is owned by Shoedazzle and JustFab parent company TechStyle Fashion Group, has "rapidly surpassed $300 million in annual revenue" after just five years in business, and has achieved same-store sales growth of 20% year-over-year. The company also managed to bring its apparel production-to-delivery time down from eight to six weeks.

The retailer can attribute much of its success to personalization and extensive knowledge of its customers. TechStyle sends unique emails to each of its 2.5 million members. These emails use dynamic one-to-one merchandising across thousands of styles, individualized based on the customer’s preferences, clicks and purchases, according to Brand President Traci Inglis, who spoke at the 2018 Retail Innovation Conference.

Fabletics also maintains a close relationships with female celebrities, a tactic that has drawn more than 1.4 million members to the platform. Fabletics recently enlisted singer Demi Lovato as a brand ambassador.

"One thing I think any brand should do is have relationships with people who are fundamentally a great part of their message," said Co-Founder Kate Hudson in a statement. "Having Demi has been amazing. She has brought a different demographic [of shopper] with her, and a new type of loyal customer."

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