Fleece Is in Full Bloom

Not everyone is happy that warmer weather is on the way. Count the fleece-makers among them. From L.L. Bean to Columbia Sportswear to Orvis, several brands have all called out fleece as being a high point in this year’s fashion cycle. “We’re in a fleece moment,” Arthur Peck, president and chief executive officer of the Gap Inc., said during the company’s most recent conference call. Peck said the company is investing more in fleece products — possibly even during the warmer months, like spring, summer and fall.  But for now, the Gap’s success in the fuzzy fabric includes double-digit comps in Old Navy’s fleece sales during the most recent quarter, the winter months. Moreover, the fleece craze spans over men’s and women’s wear, from Abercrombie & Fitch to Columbia Sportswear. “We had record outerwear sales across gender, with both guys and girls loving anything cozy-lined, including teddy, sherpa and fleece,” Abercrombie & Fitch ceo Fran Horowitz told analysts during the company’s March conference call. At the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Consumer & Retail Technology Conference the same month, Hanesbrands ceo Gerald Evans estimated that the global activewear category, which includes things like fleece, T-shirts and shorts, is worth about $200 billion.

One thing is clear:

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