Local ShoppingWalmart launches activewear brand Love & Sports

Walmart launches activewear brand Love & Sports

Dive Brief:

  • Walmart on Friday announced the launch of a private label activewear line, Love & Sports, according to a company press release. The brand is available on Walmart’s website and will roll out to 1,500 stores.  
  • The brand was created in partnership with fashion designer Michelle Smith and SoulCycle instructor Stacey Griffith. 
  • The first collection includes 121 women’s activewear and swim items. The activewear comes in sizes XS to XXXL, while swim products will be available “in the coming days” and come in sizes XS to XXL. All products are priced between $12 and $42, and collections will be dropping seasonally, with footwear and accessories to be introduced this fall.

Dive Insight:

Walmart is expanding its apparel ambitions, this time by banking on the popularity of activewear. 

The category saw a bump due to the pandemic, with activewear up 37% in 2021, according to NPD Group data cited by Walmart. 

Now Walmart is throwing its efforts behind a line created in partnership with a couple that knows both fashion and the athletics space. Smith, along with then-husband Andrew Oshrin, founded the fashion line Milly, which was eventually sold to a subsidiary of S. Rothschild in 2019. Griffith is a star instructor at SoulCycle, where they met. 

“Love is what brought this entire collaboration to life,” Griffith said in a statement. “We want everyone to feel the joy we do.” 

The collection they produced with Walmart includes performance fabrics and clothing that embraces looks for the gym and street styles. The line consists of running shorts, cropped logo sweatshirts, nylon jackets, leggings, bike shorts and sports bras. The range has details like moisture-wicking fabrics, pockets, reflective taping and waistbands that can be rolled down to transition from high-waisted bottoms to a low-waisted look. 

Swimwear features strapless one-piece suits, retrokini tops, ring halter bikini tops and bikini bottoms, in a range that is designed both for performance and leisure. 

In a post for NPD Group last fall, Senior Industry Adviser for Sports Matt Powell identified women’s activewear as one of retail’s biggest areas of opportunity. He said retail’s use of private label products are currently filling the void in the women’s market. “Private label brands together account for nearly 44% of total women’s activewear sales, compared to Nike, the second-largest brand, with 8% market share,” Powell said. 

Following the trend, a number of retailers have pushed forward efforts in the category. At the start of 2021, J.C. Penney unveiled a new iteration of its Xersion activewear line for children, women and men, that also uses performance fabrics and is available in inclusive sizing. Target in 2020 announced a private label activewear brand, All in Motion. It went on to generate $1 billion in sales in its first year. Additionally, expanding into activewear has been a popular move for DTC brands like ThirdLove and Thinx, while Vuori raised hundreds of millions of dollars to advance its efforts in the category. And category leader Lululemon passed $6 billion in revenue for the first time in 2021, delivering 42% revenue growth year over year. 

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