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Life has returned to a pre-pandemic normal, more or less, in the last few months. At the same time, there’s been a question around whether the activewear boom of 2020 can continue. Recent signs indicate the category is still growing but becoming all the more competitive. Read on to see what other categories are growing, what’s happening at Saks Fifth Avenue, what Kohl’s has planned for its Sephora partnership and how brands are recruiting Gen-Z talent on TikTok. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Glossy Podcast to hear our Week in Review podcast, hosted by me, and our show centered on interviews with industry insiders, hosted by Glossy’s editor-in-chief, Jill Manoff. Also check out the Glossy Beauty podcast hosted by executive editor Priya Rao. -Danny Parisi, sr. fashion reporter
The bustling, increasingly crowded world of activewear
Last week, reports surfaced that Outdoor Voices is either going up for sale or ready to seek a round of investment in order to keep scaling its growth. Both rumors were supported by the fact that the company’s revenue continues to grow, increasing from $40 million pre-pandemic to $90 million last year.
Outdoor Voices also has the benefit of profitability behind it. According to Business of Fashion, the company is profitable or close to profitable, depending on the month, which is more than many fashion brands can say.
Other activewear brands have succeeded in the last two years despite speculation that the activewear boom was fueled by working from home and the pandemic. Vuori raised $400 million in a single round from SoftBank last year, and Lululemon increased its revenue by more than 66% this year.
But that doesn’t mean activewear is a slam dunk for any brand that tries it. Allbirds announced last week that it will be liquidating its activewear inventory, just a year after launching the category.
Luxury watches are booming, too
Exports of luxury timepieces from Vacheron Constantin, Omega and Rolex rose more than 8% in July compared to the year before, adding up to $2.3 billion worth of watches sold in one month. This is the highest demand for watches internationally since 2014, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.
Notably, watches at the highest end of the spectrum are driving much of the demand. Watches valued at more than 500 francs, or around $520, make up more than a third of volume and 95% of the value of July’s export figures. Meanwhile, demand for mid-priced watches shrank by nearly 30% in the same period.
This is yet another proof point that luxury brands and luxury customers are far better insulated from the perils of inflation and rising production costs than the rest of retail.
Saks Fifth Avenue is banking on returning tourists
Saks has created a new executive position; Kathleen Shea will serve as the department store’s first vice president of travel and tourism strategy. Shea previously worked at SaksWorks, the division of the company that creates coworking spaces within Saks Fifth Avenue stores, and at hotels like the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces.
Tourism to New York City and the U.S. is up this year compared to pre-pandemic, as is revenue, but total spending by tourists still hasn’t reached prior levels. In 2021, tourists spent only 34% of what they did in 2019. Saks Fifth Avenue is hoping Shea can help bring some of that business back, though no specific plans or projects under her leadership have been announced.
Sephora is Kohl’s saving grace
In earnings on Thursday, Kohl’s announced that its partnership with Sephora is expanding. The retailer is planning to roll out Sephora shop-in-shops to all 1,165 Kohl’s stores in its fleet. Six hundred of them will open this year and 250 more will open next year, with the rest to follow.
The announcement comes just a year after Sephora and Kohl’s revealed their first shop-in-shop. Kohl’s hopes the shop-in-shops will bring in $2 billion in revenue annually by 2025.
Recruiting Gen Z talent? Ignore LinkedIn and look to TikTok
Glossy’s Liz Flora explored a new avenue for hiring talent last week: Brands have begun recruiting and accepting applications through TikTok and Instagram, with no cover letter required.
Brands like Lottie London and CeraVe have already started using this method, which they say helps them find vibrant young talent outside of the stuffiness of LinkedIn. TikTok has acknowledged this capability already, launching a #TikTokResumes pilot program last year.