The valuation of US activewear brand Vuori has increased to 4 billion dollars after securing a 400 million dollar investment from SoftBank Vision Fund 2 as it sets its eyes on global expansion.
The Southern California-inspired performance apparel brand will use the investment to kick off an international expansion next year by launching an omnichannel business in key markets throughout Western Europe and Asia Pacific. It will also open an innovation center in Taiwan.
And in terms of its home US market, it said it plans to open more than 100 stores in the next five years.
“SoftBank has a long track record of identifying market-leading companies and supporting entrepreneurs with bold visions,” said CEO Joe Kudla, who founded Vuori in 2015.
“We are grateful to have their partnership as we move into an exciting new period of growth and evolution as a company.”
Vuori said it will also continue to expand its product offering, make key investments in infrastructure and people, and expand its sustainability efforts.
The company said it currently offsets its carbon and plastic footprints, and aims to eliminate 80 percent of plastics from its shipping and supply chain by 2022.
“With its strong consumer engagement, sustainability focus, and sheer growth, we believe Vuori is a leading brand in the attractive activewear market,” said Nagraj Kashyap, managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers.
“We are delighted to partner with Joe and the Vuori team as they introduce new products to consumers and expand globally.”
The investment comes as the activewear market continues to go from strength to strength, fuelled particularly in the past 18 months by new work-from-home and healthy lifestyle habits adopted during the pandemic.
US companies Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kohl’s and Target have all launched activewear lines during the pandemic.
And in August, Levi Strauss announced plans to buy US-based premium athletic and lifestyle apparel brand Beyond Yoga for an undisclosed sum as it looked to enter the segment.
The denim giant said the transaction is expected to contribute more than 100 million dollars to its net revenue for fiscal year 2022.