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Mountain Warehouse launches activewear clothing line and stores

Mountain Warehouse has turned its attention to the activewear market with the launch of a new clothing brand and chain of stores for women.

The outdoor clothing and equipment retailer has invested £1.5m in the brand, called Zakti, which has an offer similar to Sweaty Betty and Lululemon but at generally lower prices.

The clothing range initially comprises 350 products covering gym, yoga, running, cycling, skiing, dance and swimming, with prices ranging from £5 to £250. A men’s range is due to launch next year.

Two Zakti stores opened in London this weekend; a 3,000 sq ft space in Islington split over two floors, and a single-floor unit in Chiswick measuring 1,800sq ft. It has an ecommerce site, zaktiactive.com.

Mountain Warehouse chief executive Mark Neale said he hopes to have up to 10 more in London next year. He also suggested there is potential to make Zakti an international chain.

The business has a dedicated design, buying, IT and logistics team of 12. The two new stores have created around 20 jobs.

“We’ve been working on this for about a year,” said Neale. “I’m convinced that there is a huge market for well-designed and stylish athletic clothing that performs, but is also great value.

“We are using our expertise in sourcing, product development and performance fabrics built up over nearly 20 years with Mountain Warehouse to enter this adjacent market. We believe Zakti will help us widen our appeal and reach new customers.”

Last month Mountain Warehouse reported a 31% increase in pre-tax profit to £4.3m in the six months to August 30, 2015, compared with the same period in 2014. EBITDA grew 28.1% to £6.6m.

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