Victoria’s Secret reveals gymwear collection, cashing in on a booming market that former staffers say it neglected for years because it felt ‘sweat is only sexy when you’re having sex’

Victoria's Secret new on point collection
  • Victoria’s Secret launched a new gymwear collection this week, featuring leggings and sports bras.
  • It’s part of the brand’s turnaround effort, during which it has also ditched its iconic Angels.
  • Former staffers said the old management team refused to sell sports bras, which were deemed unsexy.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Victoria’s Secret launched a new collection of gymwear this week, signaling it wants to take on Lululmeon and cash in on a booming market that former staffers say it neglected for years.

The new collection, called “On Point,” is modeled by one of the brand’s new spokeswomen, Olympic skier Eileen Gu.

It comprises a mix of leggings, sports bras, and other clothing in three different fits and fabrics. Victoria’s Secret said each fit is tailored to a specific activity: one for running errands, one for yoga, and one for high-intensity workouts.

Its “sweat” leggings, recommended for high-intensity sports, cost $60, while sports bras across the collection cost between $40 to $50.

A post shared by Victoria’s Secret (@victoriassecret)

The push into gymwear is a major shift in strategy for the lingerie giant, and is part of its turnaround effort under a new management team.

It ditched its iconic Angels earlier this year, saying they were no longer “culturally relevant.” At the time, it said that it would partner with activists and entrepreneurs for its new image.

Read more: POWER PLAYERS: Meet the 8 Victoria’s Secret executives helping the company shake off years of scandal and slumping sales

In recent interviews with Insider, former longtime senior employees said that under the leadership of former L Brands CEO Les Wexner, and CMO Ed Razek, the company had missed key market opportunities – including athletic wear.

“If it wasn’t a push-your-boobs-up-to-your-chin bra, they didn’t want anything to do with it,” one woman who worked in a management role at Victoria’s Secret’s New York office for more than 12 years told Insider.

“To them, sweat is only sexy when you’re having sex,” she said of their refusal to sell sports bras.

This potentially cost the company market share as brands such as Lululemon and American Eagle’s Aerie grew in popularity. Victoria’s Secret’s market share dropped from 33% to 24% between 2016 and 2018.

The founder of Lululemon, Chip Wilson, revealed in his book about the story of Lululemon, “Little Black Stretch Pants,” that Victoria’s Secret once made an offer to buy his brand in the early 2000s.

“We were flattered, but it didn’t take us long to agree that wasn’t a direction we wanted to go,” he wrote in his book.

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Lululemon is diving into the $30 billion resale market by offering money for used yoga pants

Resale is becoming an increasingly important market.

  • Lululemon is piloting a new service to enable customers to swap used clothes for gift cards.
  • These clothes will be washed and resold at a discount.
  • Analysts are advising retailers to get into resale to make money and attract sustainability-conscious customers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Lululemon is dipping its toes into the booming resale market.

The athleisure clothing giant, which is known for its $100 workout leggings, announced Tuesday that it is launching a new resale initiative known as Like New.

Starting in May, customers will be able to return “gently used” Lululemon clothing to certain stores in California and Texas in exchange for a gift card to spend online at the brand.

These items will be washed and then available for other customers to buy back at a discount. A company spokesperson told Insider that the level of discount will depend on whether the item is in “like new” condition or “gently used.” Any items that don’t make the cut will be recycled. Lululemon said it is partnering with resale operations expert Trove to roll out this new service.

Lululemon is among the first major retailers in the US to make moves into the $30 billion resale market. Analysts say that there an immediate opportunity for companies to cash in on this growing market, while also showing customers and investors that they are more sustainability-minded.

Jefferies analysts recently estimated that the secondhand market will represent more than 10% of the apparel market over the next 10 years.

“Legacy retailers should start to take note, and find a way to participate,” these analysts wrote.

Offering resale options is especially important if Lululemon wants to attract younger customers, who are spending more on resale than any generation before, according to Jefferies.

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Dick’s Sporting Goods launches new men’s athleisure line to take on Lululemon

Dicks Sporting Goods VRST
Dicks Sporting Goods VRST.

  • Dick’s Sporting Goods is launching a men’s activewear line, VRST.
  • The line will have athletic wear and casual clothing.
  • Athletic wear has done well during the pandemic as overall apparel suffers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Dick’s Sporting Goods is launching a men’s athleisure brand called VRST to compete with Lululemon and other athletic brands.

VRST is a “men’s athletic apparel brand built for the modern active man who lives life on-the-go,” Dick’s Sporting Goods said in a press release. The line will include pants, joggers, shorts, tees, and hoodies priced from $30 to $120. It will be sold in Dick’s stores across the US, along with its own e-commerce platform.

Read more: Echelon Fitness’ CEO reveals how the connected-fitness company grew sales by 700% during the pandemic, thanks in part to its focus on accessibility

Activewear and athleisure have fared well throughout the pandemic of the past year as people increasingly turn towards comfortable, functional clothes. While apparel overall lagged behind other sectors, sporting goods saw 75% growth according to Adobe’s Covid-19 report. Apparel sales were down 34% between March and July, but shorts, sweatpants, and sports bra sales all rose.

Dick’s Sporting Goods, Athleta, and other brands reported increased demand for athleticwear in the second quarter of 2020. Target’s athletic brand All in Motion reached $1 billion in sales in 2020, within only a year of launching, Avery Hartmans reported for Insider.

Dicks Sporting Goods VRST
Dicks Sporting Goods VRST.

Athleisure brands like Lululemon have traditionally relied on women for the majority of sales, but they’re turning to men as potential customers, too.

Lululemon attracted men with casual wear and an office commute line. Specifically, the stretchy ABC (anti-ball-crushing) pant is one of the most popular in the line, Mary Hanbury reported for Insider in 2018. Dick’s and VRST seem to be going for the same customers with “a variety of commuter pants” in the new line for men.

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How Disney’s growth plans compare to Netflix

Hi! Welcome to the Insider Advertising daily for December 14. I’m Lauren Johnson, a senior advertising reporter at Business Insider. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every weekday. Send me feedback or tips at

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Today’s news: How Disney’s growth plans compare to Netflix, Lululemon gets shoppers back in store, and NBCUniversal mulls paywall for “The Office.”

bob chapek 2018

Disney unveiled its international expansion playbook for streaming and it’s very different from Netflix’s. Here’s how it’s tackling key markets around the world.

Read the full story here.


Lululemon is banking on new virtual waitlists and pop-up stores to bring shoppers back to brick-and-mortar locations – and it’s working

Read the full story here.

the office jim pam

‘The Office’ fans might be stuck paying $5 a month to watch the show when it leaves Netflix next year

Read the full story here.

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