Fitness clothes sales picking up the pace

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Fitness clothes sales picking up the pace

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Lotte’s KIHU pop-up store offers discounts Friday to customers who follow the aerobic routines. Provided by the company

Despite an overall slowdown in domestic consumption, the sports industry and department stores are enjoying a fitness wear sales boom.

Adidas Women’s saw the number of customers increase by 30 percent every month and other major brands such as Adidas, Nike, Reebok and Head also have seen fitness product sales increase an average of 55 percent this month from a year earlier.

At the sports brand Head, fitness products launched in collaboration with famous yoga instructor Jessica are regularly sold out.

Reebok fitness wear modeled by actress Jun Ji-hyeon was sold out the first day at Lotte Department Store’s main store in Sogong-dong, central Seoul, in March.

Although sales growth of sports brands slowed from 31 percent last year to 10 percent so far this year at Lotte, fitness wear sales continue to grow rapidly. Lotte added 70 million won ($62,300) in sales from May 17-24 alone by opening KIHU fitness wear pop-up store at its main branch.

Shinsegae Department Store also said it has been seeing double-digit monthly growth in sportswear sales, including fitness and outdoor brands.

“Korea’s ‘healing’ culture has become the new trend in food, lifestyle, leisure and entertainment, healing the body and mind through fitness is attracting attention. More and more customers are looking for related products,” said Kim Joo-sung, senior product planner of the children’s sports team at Lotte. “We plan to introduce more premium fitness brands at our major stores.”

In the United States, the fitness wear market is huge, with No. 1 yoga clothing brand Lulu Lemon posting 1.5 trillion won in annual sales.

In Korea, events such as the Korea Yoga Marathon Festival next month, are increasing the profile of fitness wear brands.

However, sports brands have diversified designs and colors of their fitness clothes so they also can be worn outside the gym. During the event at Lotte, fitness leggings and T-shirts that resemble casual clothes were hot items.

“I usually didn’t shop for sportswear as they were mainly functional clothes that could only be worn at the gym or yoga centers. But these days I see more fashionable and diverse sports clothes in different,” said 30-something Kim Mi-ok while shopping at Lotte Department Store.

By Kim Jung-yoon [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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