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Kohl’s Teams Up With Under Armour in Activewear Push

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Activewear is expected to bring in $83 billion worldwide by 2020, and Kohl’s wants in.

The department store chain said Wednesday that it would start selling Under Armour apparel, footwear and accessories for men, women and children early next year in all of its 1,100-plus locations as part of a push to propel its active business.

“This is a memorable and significant moment for Kohl’s as we bring this incredible brand to our customers nationwide,” Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief merchandising and customer officer, stated. “We greatly admire what Under Armour has accomplished in creating a powerful and successful brand that has really changed the active industry. This brand launch builds on other notable investments we’ve already made in our active business. We believe Kohl’s is uniquely positioned to celebrate the athletes and wellness enthusiasts in every family.”

It’s also a smart play for Under Armour. The Baltimore-based brand achieved a 22 percent increase in North America revenue in the second quarter and said Tuesday that it would continue to expand distribution through new wholesale partners, to introduce more consumers to its apparel and footwear.

“In 2016, our ability to position the brand to capture the changing expectations of the consumer requires Under Armour to extend and grow in new and different ways. The authenticity we have gained with the athlete over the past 20 years has positioned Under Armour to widen our access through categories, channels and geographies,” chief executive Kevin Plank said.

Kohl’s has been investing in the active and wellness category since 2014, expanding its offering of national brands and private brands—Nike has done well—and acquiring brands and partners. Time will tell if these ventures will pay off, but for shareholders, it can’t come soon enough. Kohl’s profit plummeted by 87 percent in the three months ended April 30. The retailer’s stock (KSS) is down 14.09% year-to-date.

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