Pretty soon, it won’t just be the salad that needs dressing at your local market. A growing number of produce peddlers are also angling to become style destinations, launching their own fresh fashion brands. German-based grocer Lidl, which operates several locations in the U.S., called on style icon Heidi Klum to design an exclusive line of apparel for its stores. And The Kroger Co. recently announced a plan to debut its own lifestyle clothing brand next fall.
The influx of supermarket style is likely a reaction to e-commerce juggernaut Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods earlier this year, with food sellers electing to diversify in a bid to draw customer and stay competitive. Robert Clark, Kroger’s senior vice president of merchandising, says his company’s decision to develop a line of “elevated basics” and activewear is a way to “inspire and connect” with its customer base. “This new offering is on-trend, convenient and right in line with our customers’ needs,” he said in a press release.
The move into apparel is part of the grocery chain’s “Kroger Restock” initiative – a three-year, $9 billion investment plan to revitalize the company. The Cincinnati-based company will roll out across its 300 Kroger Marketplace and Fred Meyer stores in late 2018. Company representatives described the forthcoming fashion line as “modern,” “playful” and “simple.”
Esmara by Heidi Klum is already available to customers. The 84-piece collection includes items like suede biker jackets, leopard print hoodies and narrow-legged blue pants, all with budget-friendly prices – ranging from $7 to $60. Back in September, The Daily Mail reported that the line was flying off the shelves, with items selling at more than 100 a minute.
In a press release, Klum said she was proud to partner with Lidl because it’s “known for making quality products at affordable prices.” Boudewijn Tiktak, Lidl US’s chief commercial officer, said of the collection: “We believe high-quality fashion should be attainable for everyone.”