Madewell branches out into intimates sector
Madewell is making moves to expand, announcing its first foray into the intimates sector. J.Crew’s sister brand released a collection of 42 minimalist pieces, focusing mainly on bralettes and cotton bottoms, on Tuesday morning.
Reflecting Madewell’s focus on being an ‘essentials’ brand (denim has become the brand's signature offering), the intimates collection will focus on soft bralettes and bottoms in basic colors like pale pink, black, and heather gray.
More and more brands are finding customers looking to more comfortable underwear, like briefs, boy shorts, and bralettes, over thongs and wired bras. In 2015, NPD conducted a study on women’s underwear popularity with the findings revealing that thong sales had decreased by 7% between 2014 and 2015, while brief and boy shorts sales had grown by 17%. NPD also noted that 41% of millennials chose to wear a sports bras over a regular bra at least once over the course of a week.
Victoria’s Secret noticed a huge shift in consumer purchasing in Q3 of last year, noting that its customers had been opting for unstructured, unfussy bralettes over Victoria's Secret signature higher-priced push-up bras. Slow to capitalize on the bralette trend, Victoria’s Secret saw a 25.8% drop in its third-quarter earnings. Lingerie brand True & Co also felt the pressure, watching push-up bra sales fall from 24% to 15% in 2016 while bralettes flew off the shelves.
Madewell isn’t the first brand as of late to launch an expansion into the underwear and loungewear categories. Hollister recently reintroduced its Gilly Hicks intimates line last week, after shuttering Gilly Hicks stores in 2007.
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