Fabletics, an activewear brand founded by Kate Hudson, Adam Goldenberg, and Don Ressler, has doubled its brick-and mortar retail expansion in Europe. This follows openings in the US, Berlin, and London.
Fabletics currently has 72 stores. The majority are located in the US with two locations in Europe. In October 2021, Berlin was the first European flagship. A second, experimental pop-up store opened on Regent Street in London at the end November. This will remain open until 2022.
Gerrit Müller, international president of TechStyle Fashion Group which owns Fabletics, stated that physical retail for activewear brands is “here and staying” in the UK. It is the largest European market for the brand and provides the ideal testing ground.
This central London store covers approximately 2,400 square feet over two floors. It offers Fabletics size inclusive ranges across its women’s and men’s collections. Fabletics also highlights its active-lifewear pieces, including leggings, outerwear, cold weather essentials and loungewear.
The brand’s retail space was also designed to be integrated with its digital roots. Using Omnisuite technology and Omnishop technology, customers can request a different size, check stock and get styling tips without ever leaving the fitting room.
Fabletics associates can help customers shop on the website and arrange delivery directly to their doorstep using an iPod-based POS system.
Interview with Gerrit Müller, President International for TechStyle Fashion Group
We spoke to Gerrit Müller via e-mail to discuss Fabletics’ decision to make London its second European headquarters, the plans for its permanent presence in the UK and the omnichannel approach.
Why was London selected as Europe’s next retail store location?
Regent Street is a popular spot for UK shoppers. We wanted to make it as enjoyable as possible. We make it easy for VIPs and new customers to find us by catering to the needs of shoppers.
The store is temporary. What are your plans for permanent retail for Fabletics in UK?
Fabletics retail is here for the long-term, it is certain. The next six to twelve months will be spent learning, optimizing and improving our retail store concept. Regent Street is the most popular and prestigious shopping destination in the world. This is where you can learn from our customers and interact with them.
We want our members to feel confident in their experience. We are open to learning about any differences that might exist in Europe. In 2022, we plan to increase our UK retail presence.
Is Brexit having an effect on Fabletics?
The Fabletics customer-facing business has not been affected by Brexit. We continue to see growth in the UK as our strongest market in Europe.
Brexit has presented a challenge in terms of business efficiency. Customs and shipping processes have become more complicated. Fabletics has been able overcome this challenge, and even turned it into an improvement in customer experience by opening a second European warehouse. This allowed us to respond to the post-Brexit world and also resulted in significantly shorter shipping times for customers, which made VIP members even happier.
Why is physical retail so important?
Fabletics continues to invest in brick and mortar retail and double down on store sales. To improve efficiency and create seamless experiences online and in-store, we are constantly improving our omnichannel offerings. Fabletics VIP members can seamlessly access their online benefits at any location. All locations also have OmniSuite technology, which allows them to enjoy exclusive benefits and perks online. The patent-pending OmniShop fitting rooms technology digitizes the whole experience, allowing for easy try-on and communication with sales associates through an iPad in the shop.
All our retail stores are digitally native and offer customers the chance to touch, feel, and engage with products. We also use technological enhancements to enhance the experience.
Is there any plan to open more stores in the UK/Europe?
We have opened a Fabletics store in Berlin, Germany, in addition to our Regent Street store. Berlin is Europe’s second largest market. We will have 72 retail stores, 70 of which are located in the United States, by 2021. We aim to continue a similar expansion strategy for Europe.
Why was it so important for the London store offer an omnichannel experience?
When it comes to bridging between online and offline, customer experience is crucial. Fabletics’ innovative Omnichannel features are directly the result of listening to our customers and adapting to a changing retail environment.
These include our “Buy Online, Pickup in-Store” offer (coming soon to Europe), which increases the use of touchless technology, and our new Hydrow boutiques, which allow customers to try out the rowing machine in-store. Our community loves our in-store activities, including workouts and giveaways. Fabletics VIP membership offers a unique community experience. Our in-store offerings enhance that relationship.
Fabletics has recently launched loungewear and menswear categories. Are there other expansions planned?
We are currently focusing on expanding men’s as a new target audience and also expanding our categories with offerings such as loungewear. According to Market Research Future’s recent research report, the loungewear market will be worth 9.98 trillion dollars US by 2027. This presents Fabletics with an enormous opportunity for growth.
We will continue to be laser-focused on 2022 in order to ensure that these expansions deliver the same success as 2021.