Nike just opened its first-ever women’s-only store in Newport Beach’s Fashion Island, a luxe shopping center in Orange County, California (that’s also home to a new SoulCycle, just in case you needed something to wear with your SOUL tank and bandana).
The news comes on the heels of October’s Nike Women Showcase, where the activewear giant revealed five big-deal things it’s about to roll out for women. Clearly, there’s a pattern forming here.
Nike Stores North America vice president Cathy Sparks attributes the company’s flourishing female focus to the rising interest of health and wellness among women.
“Nike’s women’s business has never been stronger than it is today,” Sparks says. “Growth of our women’s business is outpacing men’s, which demonstrates that our innovations and lifestyle products are really resonating with female consumers in today’s marketplace. We are also focused on key opportunities such as e-commerce, retail doors and apparel, and Nike Fashion Island is part of that growth plan.”
And like other women’s fitness fashion brands that have long offered in-store classes, Nike is now getting in on the action with classes for customers at the new Newport Beach location. (Generally Nike events are on a grander scale and take over the Santa Monica Pier or Governor’s Island in New York City.) This is in addition to such offerings at the store as Nike+ Run Club, Nike+ Training Club, and yoga classes—plus retail-driven services like run analysis, bra fitting, footwear trials, and pant hemming.
“Deepening our connection with women at retail is one key component to our growth plans,” Sparks explains. As further proof, a second Nike women’s location will open in Shanghai on November 29. (Separately, a running-specific Nike store will open in Pasadena on November 26 to service bountiful Rose Bowl joggers—and its cool, healthy residents.)
No doubt, Nike’s focus on the female market is also an answer to competitors like Under Armour making the same move and the (teetering) domination of Lululemon, which just opened a flagship store on Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and a new store for men in New York City. —Jamie McKillop
Nike Women, 363 Newport Center Drive, Fashion Island, Newport Beach, www.nike.com