Kohl's is to launch a new private label speciality athleisure brand, produced using sustainable methods and materials, as the US department store retailer looks to strengthen its position in active and casual apparel to tap into consumer demand for more comfortable clothing.

FLX will be available in select stores and online from March 2021, with offerings for both men and women. It is described as "a modern athleisure brand featuring stylish active separates made with high-quality performance fabrics and functional details".

In addition to a year-round collection of core apparel – including bottoms, shorts and tees – the brand assortment will be refreshed seasonally with key transitional items, including fleece, jackets, and layering pieces.

Doug Howe, Kohl's chief merchandising officer, says the launch is part of efforts to strengthen its position as a destination for active and casual apparel.

"As customers have been increasingly shopping for a more comfortable and casual lifestyle, Kohl's identified a plan to more aggressively serve as the most trusted retailer of choice in these categories. With an emphasis on high-quality athleisure, FLX fills a white space in our current private brand portfolio and will be a great answer to these growing consumer trends."

The range is size-inclusive, available in plus and big and tall sizes, with the entire FLX collection made using sustainable methods and materials.

Kohl's says the introduction of FLX is just one of a number of ways the company is investing in the growing categories of active and casual apparel. Building on its commitment to inclusive sizing, the retailer has expanded its size offerings in active apparel with the launches of Under Armour and Adidas Plus earlier this year, and Under Armour big and tall last autumn.

As its active business continues to grow, it has also increased square footage of the area dedicated to active by 25% in around 160 of its stores and has launched Adidas shop-in-shops in 175 stores across the country.

Last month, Kohl's said it is to cut around 15% of its corporate workforce in response to the business impact resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.