By Jason Del Rey. Source: Re/code.
Amazon has quietly developed its own brands of suits, dresses and shoes. Yoga pants and running tights could be next.
The online megastore is planning to develop its own line of workout apparel as it wades deeper into the private-label clothing business, according to several online job listings published by Amazon in December.
In a series of postings for “brand manager” positions, Amazon said it was looking for candidates “to build authentic activewear private label brands that have compelling and unique DNA and deliver amazing consumer valued innovation.”
That’s a mouthful! But Google can help explain. If you enter “activewear” on the search engine, you’ll find ads showing yoga pants and running tights from brands like Victoria’s Secret, Adidas, Nike and Under Armour.
One of the job listings adds that the ideal candidate would be someone who has a “passion for sport, athletes and those living an active lifestyle” and has “experience studying (athletic, activewear) trends, customer behavior and shopping patterns.”
An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment.
The plans for Amazon workout clothing mark the online retailer’s latest move to build out its own stable of clothing brands while simultaneously riding the “athleisure” wave — that is, the trend of wearing workout clothes like yoga pants in other settings, like the office.
Retailers like Lululemon and Fabletics, the Kate Hudson-led brand, have profited from the trend, helping to push the U.S. activewear market to an estimated $44 billion in sales. Recent data, however, suggests that market saturation is causing prices to drop.
Most recently, it revealed a men’s buttoned-down shirt brand — creatively named Buttoned Down — that sells dress shirts starting at $39. They are only available to Amazon Prime members.
Private-label brands are often viewed as a way for retailers to increase profit margins while beating big-name brands on price. Retailers can do this because they can feature their brands in their store without having to spend the big marketing dollars that traditional consumer brands have to. These in-house brands also typically don’t require as much research and development money to produce.
In the case of Amazon, the private-label clothing project is one in which CEO Jeff Bezos is personally interested. “I think there’s so much opportunity for invention there,” he told Fortune in an interview published in March.
Amazon’s vast database of transaction data and consumer browsing habits could give it a leg up on competition in developing items it knows its customers want, industry experts say. Overall, some equity research analysts predict that Amazon will pass Macy’s this year as the largest seller of apparel in the U.S.
Amazon’s private-label push also involves selling hundreds of products from kitchen knives to batteries under the AmazonBasics name. Additionally, the online retailer recently began selling consumer packaged goods like snacks and detergent under Amazon-created brands like Happy Belly and Presto.