- Carrie Underwood, the face of Dick’s Calia women’s private label, is stepping away from the activewear brand, according to an Instagram post. The winter collection will be her last with the brand.
- “I am so proud of everything we’ve created and built, and look forward to seeing where CALIA goes from here! I’m excited about all the future has to bring,” Underwood wrote. Fans of the singer expressed disappointment about Underwood’s departure from the brand.
- The Calia brand will continue to receive the same amount of investment by Dick’s, a source close to the matter told Retail Dive. The first Calia product without Underwood’s involvement will hit stores in 2022. Dick’s did not respond to a request for comment on whether or not the company would name a new ambassador for the brand.
Private labels have been a key part of Dick’s strategy recently, alongside store concept innovations and remodels.
The retailer launched a men’s private label, dubbed VRST, in March this year, which has its own e-commerce website as well. Dick’s named DeVonta Smith, the 10th pick in the 2021 NFL draft, the brand ambassador for the new private label, as part of a larger bid to beef up its owned brand offerings. Around the same time, Dick’s brought in celebrity dance couple Stephen “tWitch” Boss and Allison Boss to represent its family-oriented DSG private label.
Underwood, for her part, has been associated with Dick’s Calia brand since it launched in 2015 as an exclusive at the sporting goods retailer. The private label has grown to be one of Dick’s top-selling women’s brands, with the retailer even testing Calia pop-ups last year during the holiday season.
“Like in so many other areas of our business, we see a lot of opportunity to continue to expand Calia by Carrie Underwood as the athletic apparel category continues to strengthen,” now-CEO Lauren Hobart said in a statement when the pop-ups were announced. “With our women’s business being a strong focus for us this year, and Calia having such strong success, it felt like the right time to launch these Calia pop-up locations.”
That strength has evidently continued this year. In Dick’s most recent earnings call last week, Hobart praised Calia and the retailer’s other private labels for “driving exclusivity” and “gaining meaningful traction” with customers. “We continue to invest substantially in our highly profitable and growing vertical brands,” Hobart said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.
While private labels will likely never replace the name brands at Dick’s, the retailer has used them successfully to fill in gaps around its key partners, Warren Cheng, consumer softlines analyst at Evercore ISI, told Retail Dive earlier this year. For example, DSG fills part of the hole left by department stores.
“If [Dick’s] can do it better with private label, it’s obviously much more profitable,” Cheng said over the summer.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include additional information about the future of the Calia brand at Dick’s.