Dick’s Sporting Goods announced this Monday that it’s launching a specialty women’s fitness and lifestyle boutique. The omnichannel sporting goods retailer is naming the stores Chelsea Collective after the diverse and eclectic Chelsea neighborhood in New York City. The first two Chelsea Collective stores will be located in Pittsburgh, Dick’s Sporting Goods hometown, and Tyson’s Corner, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C. Both stores are slated for August openings.

Chelsea Collective will offer consumers a curated assortment of apparel, equipment, footwear, accessories and beauty products, fusing fitness and fashion to serve women who are on the cutting edge of new trends and have a variety of fitness interests. The move into this new product category – athleisure – is a departure from Dick’s traditional business, which relies on “hardlines” (e.g., fitness equipment, golf clubs, hunting and fishing gear, other sporting goods equipment) to generate the lion’s share of its revenues. Furthermore, Chelsea Collective enters a crowded marketplace featuring brands such as lululemon athletica, Athleta (Gap’s yoga-focused brand), Nike and Under Armour.

“As leaders in sporting goods and fitness apparel, we wanted to provide a destination for women who are on their own personal fitness journeys; a store where they can come in and feel part of a community that understands them and their needs,” said Lauren Hobart, senior vice president, Dick’s Sporting Goods/general manager, Chelsea Collective, in a company press release. “We feel Chelsea Collective will meet and exceed this active woman’s expectations.”

Dick’s is throwing its hat in the ring for the lucrative women’s athletic apparel market, whose sales have outpaced the increase on the men’s side. How will Chelsea Collective be different than the other players in the space?

The stores will operate as small boutiques, and focus on forming local partnerships that benefit and reward loyal customers.

“We truly want these stores to have their own voice, their own local flavor,” said Hobart in the press release. “We’re hiring experts – associates who live for the latest fitness and fashion trends, who buy and use the products this store offers and who will be a sought after resource to the Chelsea Collective community.”

What are your thoughts on this move by Dick’s Sporting Goods: Is it smart for it to get into the fast-growing women’s athletic apparel market, or a mistake to expand its product assortment beyond its core offerings? Let us know by posting a comment below.