joe kudla vuori

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“Our performance joggers are the most comfortable pants you will ever own,” reads a description on Vuori’s website, an activewear brand based in Encinitas, California. 

It’s a bold claim, but based on the retailer’s 2020 sales results so far, it seems many consumers would agree.

In a recent interview with Business Insider, CEO Joe Kudla said that sales of the brand’s women’s performance jogger pants were up more than 1,000% this year. Vuori is also seeing similar growth for its men’s Ponto performance pants. 

Kudla’s company came into 2020 hoping to double its revenue. And as the year comes to a close, Vuori is closer to tripling it, he said. 

Kudla describes Vuori, which he founded in 2015, as having an “effortless, casual California aesthetic.” Its products hide features like zip pockets and seams so that they can be worn for different purposes and don’t “identify you as somebody who just left the gym,” he said.

In addition to sweatpants, Vuori sells casual and workout shorts, tops, hoodies, and jackets. 

“The color palettes and the prints are sophisticated and easy to throw on, no matter what you’re doing,” he said. “The product is technical, but it performs without looking technical.” 

Apparel has been one of the hardest-hit categories in consumer spending so far this year.

Read more: 3 business areas Levi’s is prioritizing to help it grow sales after the pandemic created a reckoning for jeans

While the US Commerce Department reported this week that retail spending increased slightly in October, sales of apparel continued to decline. Apparel sales fell 4.2% in October and have decreased by 30% overall in 2020. Last month’s 0.3% overall growth rate in retail was the smallest reported in six months by the agency.

But for retailers focusing on comfortable clothing, there is plenty of reason for hope. 

The NPD Group is forecasting that cozy categories — including sweatshirts, sweatpants, active bottoms, sleepwear, and socks — will account for 31% of total apparel spend this holiday season. 

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Vuori has been one in a crop of apparel retailers that has overperformed as consumers have opted for comfort while staying home amid the pandemic.

In September, Lululemon reported that its net revenue grew by 2% in the second quarter, despite stores being closed for much of the period. Its online sales grew by 157%. Athleta similarly reported net sales growth in the second quarter despite declines for the rest of Gap Inc.’s portfolio. Its online sales were up 74%.

E-commerce first, but ‘meeting the customer where they’re at’

Vuori came into the pandemic well-positioned, having raised $45 million in funding from Norwest Venture Partners in August 2019.

Kudla said that e-commerce “is hands down the most important channel for any business today.” But, Vuori is getting its products into consumers’ hands in several different ways, including through its own brick-and-mortar stores and wholesale partnerships. 

The company had opened five stores before the spring’s pandemic-related shutdowns. Four of those stores are in Southern California, while the last can be found in San Francisco.  

Kudla said the pandemic caused …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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