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Kohl's Challenges Lululemon With New Athleisure Line

By Howard Smith – Updated Oct 20, 2020 at 1:29PM

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A new private label specialty athleisure brand called FLX for both men and women will move the retailer into the higher-end active and casual clothing market.

Department store chain Kohl's (KSS -1.93%) announced today that is entering the growing athleisure clothing market that has been mostly dominated by lululemon athletica (LULU -2.79%). The Kohl's private label brand, dubbed FLX, will be available online and at select stores beginning in March 2021. 

Lululemon announced an increase in sales for its second quarter ended Aug. 2, 2020 even as many other retailers have struggled from impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company said a shift toward working from home, plus a greater concern for health and wellness, has increased interest in the athleisure market.

Young women performing yoga while dressed in athleisure wear.

Image source: Getty Images.

Kohl's is adding the private label brand as a way of "strengthening our position as a destination for active and casual apparel," the company's Chief Merchandising Officer Doug Howe said in a news release. 

The new FLX clothing line is meant to complement its current lineup of active and casual wear with a higher-end athleisure offering. In the last year, the company has been growing its lineup by offering expanded-size products in the category, including Under Armour (UA -3.87%) (UAA -4.30%) and Adidas (ADDYY -3.98%) big and tall. 

Kohl's reported revenue declined by 23% in its second quarter ended August 1. Its online sales, however, grew by 58% compared to the previous year period. A bright spot has been with activewear, and the company has increased the square footage dedicated to active clothing by 25% in 160 of its stores. FLX will support at-home or on-the-go needs with travel pants and packable jackets, the company said in a statement. 

Howard Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Under Armour (A Shares) and Under Armour (C Shares). The Motley Fool recommends Lululemon Athletica. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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