Amazon appears to be making yet another big move this year, this time branching into the realm of private-label sportswear. According to news reports published by Bloomberg on Friday (Oct. 13), the Seattle, Washington-based company has partnered with two well-known Taiwanese sportswear manufacturers to create the line of athletic apparel.
Eclat Textile Company and Makalot Industrial Co. – the vendors responsible for manufacturing the clothing lines for Gap, Kohl’s, Lululemon, Nike, Under Armour, Uniqlo and more – are Amazon’s choices for its athleisure items, according to Bloomberg. The companies have created small-batch trials of clothing items for Amazon in the past, but a long-term contract has yet to be signed.
“Amazon has previously ventured into private-label fashion, offering office clothing, jackets and dresses under names like Goodthreads and Paris Sunday,” Bloomberg wrote. “But pushing into activewear would bring fresh competition to some of the world’s biggest athletic brands.”
Eclat, which manufactures the Lululemon, Nike and Under Armour lines, has “key expertise in making high-performance sportswear,” according to the article. Shares for all three of Eclat’s brands dipped following news of Amazon’s sportswear endeavors, though, including a 4.9 percent decline for Lululemon and a 2.8 percent decrease for Under Armour. Nike’s shares dipped and then recovered to finish the day up 0.1 percent, Bloomberg reported.
Activewear companies have been struggling in an age of athleisure competition and brand inundation from celebrity and discount offerings. Independent of the Amazon athleisure announcement, Nike reported it expects more declining North American sales, and Under Armour has already cut its annual sales forecast. Though not as hard-hit as its fellow Eclat Textile brands, Lululemon has had to push its brand overseas in its quest for growth.
Though Amazon has yet to comment on its foray into athleisure offerings, it has been linked to the industry since rumors first surfaced in January that it was looking to launch its own line. According to her LinkedIn profile, Kristen K. Harris joined Amazon around the same time, listing her job as “senior brand manager for Amazon active apparel,” Bloomberg noted. Harris previously served in similar roles for Eddie Bauer, Nike and Nordstrom’s activewear brand, Zella.