Clothes for sweating and lounging are propping up fashion sales

Joggers running past a cherry blossom tree in Washington D.C. during the pandemic
Joggers running past a cherry blossom tree in Washington D.C. during the pandemic

Member exclusive by Marc Bain

Since the start of the pandemic, clothing companies from the high-end to the low have seen their sales tumble due to store closures and shoppers reining in spending on non-essentials. But with countless gyms and offices shut, one category that’s offered the industry something of a bright spot is clothing you can wear to work out or lounge in at home.

Asos, which sells workout clothes from the in-house line it launched in 2018 as well as other major brands, said its activewear sales roughly doubled (pdf) in the four months through June 30 versus the same time last year. It also saw strong growth in sales of casual clothing and sneakers, helping its total sales to rise 10% over the period (pdf) despite the pandemic. Sales of evening dresses, formalwear, and day dresses all sank.

“If we could do one thing, I think we’ll have probably placed more [orders for] casual wear, more sportswear, more Face + Body,” Asos CEO Nick Beighton said on a call with investors and analysts yesterday. “We acted appropriately on occasion wear. We called that one right. But actually, the lockdown categories, we have the ability to sell far more.”


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