VRST will debut Tuesday on the Dick’s Sporting Goods website and independent VRST.com, and will roll out at more than 400 Dick’s Sporting Goods locations nationwide in the coming weeks.
Source: Dick’s Sporting Goods
Dick’s Sporting Goods is entering a highly contested market for men’s sportswear with the launch of its own brand called VRST.
VRST debuts Tuesday on Dick’s website and independent VRST.com, and will roll out to more than 400 Dick stores in the coming weeks, the company said. Items in the line, which include everything from joggers and shorts to tees, quarter zippers and hoodies, retail for between $ 30 and $ 120, putting it at the higher end of the market. in regards to the price.
Following Dick’s success with its Calia athleisure line for women, the company said it saw a blank space in its stores for a more exclusive and lifestyle-oriented line for men. The line will not compete directly with the sweat-wicking performance gear sold by Under Armor and Nike. Instead, it is more similar to Lululemon.
However, Dick’s heightened private label investments come as big-name brands like Nike and Under Armor have pledged to sell more merchandise directly to consumers. Adidas announced earlier this month that its direct-to-consumer vertical should account for 50% of net sales by 2025. While Dick’s still sells these brands, the pivot has put more pressure on wholesale retailers to have exclusive lines, such as Calia and VRST, to boost traffic and sales.
In 2020, Dick’s posted $ 1.3 billion in sales from its internal brands. Total revenue was $ 9.58 billion. The company said its own brands outperformed national brands in the golf, fitness, outdoor equipment and team sports categories. Calia was the second-best women’s clothing brand to fall behind only Nike last year, he said.
Filling in the ‘blank’
VRST will be the second brand that Dick’s has launched with its own website. Calia was the first.
“When you see VRST, it will be a very different product assortment than what we have with our core vendor partners right now, and it’s a blank space,” Dick CEO Lauren Hobart said earlier this month during a conference call about earnings. “Covers a wide range of activities.”
“VRST will put us in a much stronger position to compete with similar offerings from premium apparel brands and specialty sportswear stores,” Hobart explained.
Items in the VRST line, which include everything from joggers, shorts, t-shirts, quarter zippers and hoodies, retail for between $ 30 and $ 120, putting them on the higher end of the market. market when it comes to price.
Source: Dick’s Sporting Goods
Companies like Lululemon, Nike, Adidas and Under Armor have seen more momentum in the last 12 months than clothing brands focused on workwear and fancier items. And in turn, more traditional clothing brands and department store chains quickly shifted their merchandise and marketing to focus on casual and comfort, creating more buzz in an already noisy category.
Sportswear gains market share
Before the pandemic, for example, Lululemon said he planned to double his men’s business in five years. Direct-to-consumer men’s sportswear brands like Rhone, Ten Thousand, and Vuori have also doubled their online marketing spending to reach new customers. Even department store retailers Nordstrom and Kohl’s have put a renewed focus on sportswear in a bid to boost sales. Kohl’s efforts include an internal line called FLX, which debuted earlier this month.
At the same time, there has been tremendous growth in space.
Last year, men’s sportswear gained market share to account for 45% of the total men’s clothing market, compared with 39% in 2019, according to data compiled by consumer research firm NPD Group. Categories that helped generate dollars in the space included sweatpants, which were up 16% year-over-year, and sweatshirts, which were up 3%, he said.
But VRST is not a hasty solution to take advantage of a pandemic. It has been in the works for a few years, the company said.
“And obviously we are maximizing the current momentum,” Nina Barjesteh, senior vice president of product development, said in an interview. “But more than anything, we keep looking long term and making sure we are creating products that you want to come back to for more.”
Dick’s shares have risen more than 190% in the last 12 months, at the close of the market on Monday. The company has a market capitalization of $ 7 billion.