SINGAPORE: As a growing proportion of middle-class consumers in Singapore adopt health and fitness as a lifestyle, the sports retail sector has avoided a slowdown in the wider fashion segment and it looks forward to continued growth.

Several leading sports apparel brands – including US label Under Armour, Canadian label Lululemon – have been expanding their presence in the country and expect to grow further, Channel News Asia reported.

Under Armour, for example, opened its first store only in May this year, but it has since added two more stores and aims to grow over the next three years.

Angelica Suiza, chief product and ecommerce officer at Triple Pte Ltd, the official distributor of Under Armour products, said: "The rising middle class is definitely a reality in Singapore and across the neighbouring countries.

"That is basically where you will find different age sectors across the middle class really getting involved in physical activities, so that is why sports will always be a relevant segment."

Sulian Claire, the senior director for retail and lifestyle at Savills, the consultants, agreed that sports clothing is becoming a lifestyle brand.

"What is happening in the last year or so is you are actually seeing a convergence of sports and fashion. That pretty much is the trend," she said.

"Even on the fashion runways, you are seeing a lot of fashion brands featuring sports-inspired fashion, whether it is a baseball jersey or basketball jersey," she added.

Another retail and property consultancy, JLL, expects the sports retail sector to continue to grow, especially if retailers can keep the price of imported brands competitive and focus on creating a differentiated experience in physical stores.

Data sourced from Channel News Asia; additional content by Warc staff