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Fabletics Bucks Store Closure Trend, Plans US Expansion

The industry may be questioning the athleisure trend’s staying power and battling to keep brick-and-mortar stores in business, but neither are a concern for Fabletics—the athletic wear brand is planning a U.S. expansion, including a slew of new stores.

In 2017, the e-commerce company co-founded by Kate Hudson will open 12 new stores, adding to its 18 existing retail outlets, and bringing the brand’s store count to 30 in just 23 months.

Fabletics works a little like a subscription: anyone can shop the site as a guest, but VIP members save 50 percent on every order when they visit the site each month. They can opt to skip or shop in a month, though if they do neither, they’ll be charged $49.95 as part of the membership.

The formula, Fabletics says on its site, allows the retailer to pass savings on to consumers because knowing their size and style preferences helps them manufacture more efficiently, thus saving on overhead costs.

“Our inspiration for the store was clear and simple – we aimed to bring a hint of the active lifestyle elements that shape our customers lives inside while keeping the main focus on our amazing product offering and delivering a seamless customer experience. Less is more,” Fabletics senior vice president of operations Dustin Netral, said in a statement. “Ultimately, the store was designed to enhance our overall brand experience, inviting customers in to touch, feel and see the high quality fabrications, latest innovations and newest designs, while making it as easy as possible for them to shop the way they like.”

VIP Members can also shop and return items in store and online, check order history, add items to their shopping carts and update their account information, while in the store.

So far, the system has worked.

Fabletics’ member count has reached one million and the company is taking insights from those shoppers and using it to strategically select their next retail locations.

Most of the brand’s new stores will come in just over 2,200 square feet and will open before fall 2017.

The first opening is slated for Frisco, Texas in March, and stores in Indianapolis, Indiana; Lexington, Kentucky; Schaumburg, Illinois; Boulder, Colorado and Portland, Oregon will follow in the second quarter of next year. July will see stores opened in Scottsdale, Arizona; Cerritos, San Jose; San Francisco and San Diego, California and Paramus, New Jersey.

“Fabletics is the only e-commerce retailer to date to have seamlessly and successfully integrated a member-based program with online and offline shopping,” the company said in a statement. “Reflecting Fabletics’ innovative model, the retail stores provide an enhanced customer service experience, leveraging Fabletics proprietary OmniCart technology solutions to provide a seamless shopping experience that blends the online and offline platforms.”

The retailer’s move is far from athletic wear brand Yoga Smoga’s story. The relatively new retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week after launching in 2013, but competition may have kept it from its previous ambitious goal of opening 100 stores by 2018.

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