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'Athleisure' wear catching on in Japan

Competition intensifying as shoe, apparel makers tap into growth segment

This Uniqlo store in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward sells many athleisure outfits.

TOKYO -- The latest growing trend in fashion is "athleisure," clothing worn while doing sports and exercise, but which is also suitable for casual, everyday wear. New entrants from other industries are intensifying the competition as consumers turn to cheaper casual wear.

Shoe retailer ABC-Mart plans to open 50 stores focusing on athleisure outfits by 2020. Its first such outlet, ABC-Mart Sports, will open in September, and only sell sneakers and sportswear from sports brands such as Nike and Asics.

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