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Retailers Go for Gold With Olympic-Themed Merchandise

There are only four days until the 2016 Olympic Games kick off in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and themed apparel is making a play for consumers’ purse strings.

Retail technology firm Edited said Olympic products have been on the rise in stores since March. More than half of these items are mass market, while only 4 percent of the offering is luxury. According to the data, tops and footwear lead the way, with womenswear and menswear each making up 43 percent of products and 14 percent is childrenswear.

“There are two camps for retailers responding to the event. First up: a swathe of retailers upping their athleisure game or drawing attention to Olympic-themed sportswear. The other team is retailers that have used Rio De Janiero as inspiration for non-athletic items. Think colors, prints and toucans,” Katie Smith, senior fashion and retail analyst at Edited, wrote in a blog post, citing three top U.K. stores as examples.

British activewear brand Sweaty Betty has tapped into the trend throughout the year with clothing and swimwear featuring Rio-inspired prints, like the “Dive In” high-neck bikini top and bottom in tropical neon colors that hit stores and online in June and Smith said “looks fit for Ipanema beach.” She also noted leggings and tops printed all over with dumbbells, skipping ropes, water bottles and other sports equipment.

Asos is selling a green one-piece swimsuit by Missguided, featuring the word “Rio” in yellow across the chest, and a River Island curved hem T-shirt in black for men, with a tropical graphic on the front and 2016 printed on the back. Both items are still available, but a longline ribbed tank with a “Rio de Janeiro” slogan—introduced on July 1—is out of stock.

Smith said Topshop got into the swing of things in April, launching a Rio-themed collection comprising a green and blue crochet skirt and crop top, a jumpsuit and a parrot MA1 bomber jacket, among others, all of which have sold out. All that’s left: a striped neckerchief, flamingo sandals a crochet bralette.

“There’s a lesson in the data: retailers that respond to a world event with care, thinking about how to turn that into a product story that’s relevant to their consumer win gold,” Smith said.