Athleta turns to resale, outlet sales to coax new customers - The Entrepreneurial Way with A.I.


Thursday, September 29, 2022

Athleta turns to resale, outlet sales to coax new customers


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Dive Brief:

  • Athleta is expanding its customer reach via partnerships with resale site ThredUp and online discount site Shop Premium Outlets, according to a press release.

  • The resale program, still a pilot and dubbed “Always Athleta,” uses ThredUp’s resale-as-a-service platform. As of Wednesday, a limited group of randomly selected online customers are able to choose “Preloved” from the website’s navigation bar and shop gently used Athleta items for up to 90% off.

  • The Gap Inc. brand debuted its first outlet stores earlier this year and in early October will bring value pricing online via Shop Premium Outlets, a joint venture between Simon Property Group and Rue Gilt Groupe, per the release.

Dive Insight:

Athleta said it pursued these two partnerships to bring in new customers, something it needs more than many observers may have thought a few years or even months ago.

The athletic and athleisure brand had been growing swiftly, set to achieve its $2 billion revenue goal next year, and even stirring some talk of a spinoff. But it’s been stumbling lately as consumers turned to occasion and work-based clothing and spurned some of the brand’s spring/summer merchandise. In its most recent quarter sales edged up 1% but comps fell 8%.

On Wednesday, the brand touted its previous efforts in resale, one of the fastest growing areas of apparel retail. ThredUp, which is raking in revenue from other brands via its resale platform, estimates the market could reach $82 billion by 2026. Gap Inc. brands two years ago began working with ThredUp to collect secondhand clothing, and Gap and Banana Republic already leverage its resale-as-a-service offer.  

The tie-up with Shop Premium Outlets could similarly help attract budget-minded consumers whose wallets have been squeezed by inflation all year.

“Expanding our customer base is critical to our long-term growth, and we’re always looking for new avenues to introduce women to our brand and products,” Athleta Chief Digital Officer Kim Waldmann said in a statement. “Investing in new digital collaborations with companies like Shop Premium Outlets serves as a customer acquisition and loyalty driver, introducing her to our versatile performance and performance lifestyle product as we continue to track toward Athleta’s goal of opening 30-40 new stores this year.”


Daphne Howland, Khareem Sudlow