Co-owner of the Ponsonby Rd store Andrew Marinovich says Stirling Women has been introduced to the New Zealand market to caters to the growing demand for women's activewear.
“Women’s activewear, or sports luxe as we refer to it, has been a growing part of the Stirling Sports business and the global apparel industry in general. So the next logical step has been to open dedicated stores which bring together all the best brands for achieving that sports luxe look,” he says.
“We’ve looked to provide a comfortable and inspiring environment for women to shop in as well as an extended range of products for them to choose from in this sector of the market.”
Bayleys retail specialist Sarah Boles, who leased the store, says activewear is the current big thing in women’s fashion driven by a focus on healthy living and an active lifestyle.
“Women now want casual clothing that is both functional and stylish and is suited to a wide range of different activities,” Boles says. “It’s a case of ‘less is more’, particularly among the millennial consumer group, who are very mobile and don’t want to be carrying a whole lot of garments around.”
Marinovich says the buzz of Ponsonby Rd and the demographic of people it attracts made it the ideal location for a Stirling Women store.
As for the fit-out, he says the store has been designed to create a social shopping experience, so friends and family can sit on a couch and read a magazine while waiting for someone to try something on.
Boles says retailers like Stirling Women are the ones performing well, while other parts of the apparel sector go through a shake up.
“Medium sized clothing stores have struggled to compete with the increasing influence of online retailing and a number have gone out of business," she says.
"The retailers that are doing well are those that have scale like Cotton On, which almost has stores within a store, or boutique operators which specialise in certain segments of the market.”
Boles says the Ponsonby Central redevelopment and the Vinegar Lane mixed used development are revitalising that area and lifting the calibre of tenants. Australian retailer Decjuba recently opened a flagship there.
"[It's] becoming one of Auckland’s major fashion retail and food and beverage precincts," she says.