• Retail Dive

Athleta launches digital wellness platform 'AthletaWell'

Dive Brief:

  • Athleta on Wednesday launched "AthletaWell," a wellness and empowerment platform the retailer said is part of an "evolution from a performance brand to a true lifestyle brand" and key to its growth strategy. Content is free but exclusive to Athleta Rewards loyalty members, according to a company press release.

  • As part of the effort, Athleta has partnered with at-home fitness platform Obé Fitness and recently participated in Obé's latest funding round, the company said. Obé will grant free access to exclusive workouts for AthletaWell members, with four new workouts each month.

  • AthletaWell content and activities will be contributed by "guides" who are "leaders in female wellbeing," and will include online and offline activations, the company said.

Dive Insight:

AthletaWell is an indication that Gap Inc.'s new loyalty scheme involves more than making it easier to rack up points and is an example of how retail has evolved beyond selling goods.

Athleta follows Lululemon, Nike and, most recently and perhaps surprisingly, Victoria's Secret in seizing on women's empowerment as a conversation starter with potential customers.

"We've heard from our customers that wellbeing is a complex journey, rich with questions and there isn't a place where women can talk about it holistically or discover the best solutions," Athleta Chief Digital Officer Kim Waldmann said in a statement. "We're excited to offer AthletaWell, a new digital platform for women to help each other navigate the complexities of modern-day womanhood and to connect our customers in a way that will enhance their overall experience with the brand in a meaningful way, thus, creating even more brand loyalty over time."

While AthletaWell is mostly a digital effort, the brand is also doing well on the ground, in part thanks to the enduring appeal of activewear and athleisure. In June, Athleta store traffic rose 8.5% compared to 2019, the best Gap Inc. performer in that metric that month, according to data from Placer.ai. By contrast, compared to 2019, footfall at Old Navy was down 4.2% in that period, at Gap, it was down 22%, and at Banana Republic, it was down nearly 20%.

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