Asda’s clothing label George has launched a partnership with sports brand Umbro as it makes a play for the growing athleisure market.
The first tranche of Umbro goods will go on sale from May 26, with a second collection poised to go on sale from June 2, as Asda bids to capitalise on football’s European Championships and the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, both of which take place this summer.
According to research from Mintel, the events are set to help boost the sports retailing sector by 5.9% this year.
Asda is the latest in a line of retailers bidding to muscle in on that space by moving into the sports and leisurewear sector.
Last week Sir Philip Green launched an athleisure collaboration with pop star Beyoncé. The Ivy Park brand is available to shoppers in Topshop and other retailers including JD Sports, Net-a-Porter, Nordstrom, Selfridges and Zalando.
Department store Selfridges has opened a 37,000 sq ft dedicated area to sell fashion sportswear in its Oxford Street flagship, while River Island has unveiled its own 23-line range of “fashion-forward activewear”.
Asda said its Umbro range, which will initially be sold in the George department within 20 of its larger stores, will target “shoppers who want quality sportswear at affordable prices”.
The Walmart-owned grocer added that the partnership forms a core part of its 18-month Project Renewal strategy as it bids to “sharpen its offer in response to customer needs”.
George managing director Nick Jones said: “Umbro is the perfect partner for George – both brands have longstanding heritages built on innovation, but we also share the same values and are passionate about delivering quality affordable products.
“Now, as we prepare to get behind our nations for some huge sporting events this summer, our partnership will mean that customers can get great sportswear, whatever their budget.”
Umbro’s UK general manager Michael Scholz added: “It’s an exciting time for our business and we are proud to be partnering with George to provide families across the UK with branded sportswear they can enjoy and trust, without compromising on quality.”