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Sportswear companies go the active wear route

Several sportswear companies are looking to participate in the active wear boom through the inorganic route. In May 2014, Columbia Sportswear acquired 100 per cent ownership of prAna. prAna is a yoga wear lifestyle brand that’s seeing not only strong sales traction, albeit on a smaller scale, but also diversification benefits for the remainder of Columbia’s product portfolio.

Hanesbrands has made two acquisitions in the active wear space. In 2010, the company acquired Gearco, which owned the Gear for Sports brand. In 2015, the company purchased Knights Apparel. The products of both companies use licensed collegiate logo apparel.

Some companies have also looked at providing brand exclusives with select retailers. Hanesbrands’ C9 by Champion products retail exclusively in Target stores. Target and Walmart accounted for about 28 per cent and 21 per cent of Hanesbrands’ US active wear sales, respectively, in 2015.

While Kohl’s has reported strong sales in Nike products, the company has also launched its own line in partnership with Shay Mitchell. Companies such as Nike are looking to expand distribution through wholesalers, including department stores such as Macy’s and Kohl’s, both within and outside the United States. Nike’s largest wholesale partner, Foot Locker, is also looking to expand on vendor relationships to drive higher apparel sales, particularly among women and children.