Women are a hot commodity for sports retailers. Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. is the latest national company to court women with a new concept.

The company launched the Chelsea Collective this month at Tysons Corner Center in the Washington area as a "fitness and lifestyle boutique" with sports merchandise geared for women. The second shop will open in Pittsburgh on Aug. 21.

Shoppers will have a range of complimentary services, including free alterations on items purchased from the Chelsea store, an analysis of their running stride (gait), and bra fittings.

Based on how the first two Chelsea Collective stores are received, Dick's will then decide which cities will get the next stores, a company spokeswoman said. Philadelphia remains in play.

Industry types, and those who compete against Dick's, say the retailer's plan is not surprising:

The women's activewear market totaled $15.1 billion in the 12 months ending in August 2014, up 10 percent from the year before, according to the NPD Group research firm. Figures for this year will come out in about two weeks.

Women's activewear makes up less than 20 percent of the total apparel market, but is expected to continue to outpace men's activewear in growth.

In October Nike introduced a new line of sports bras, tights, and other apparel, from which it hopes to generate $2 billion in annual sales by 2017. Others, such as Foot Locker, are also expanding their offerings to women.

"It is a smart move" by Dick's, said Jack Boyle, president of merchandising for fanatics.com, an online retailer for licensed sports merchandise.

Boyle said merchandise for women has been a growth driver for his company, and none more so than National Hockey League apparel over the last year. That included jerseys, bags, and accessories, as well as after wear, such as leggings, tank tops, and shorts for working out. He said sales for NHL women's merchandise were up 50 percent from January to mid-August, compared with the same period in 2014.

Coming in second, with a 30 percent year-over-year increase in sales, was National Basketball Association women's merchandise.

"The last two professional seasons of the NBA and NHL for the women's business have been phenomenal," Boyle said. "It's not just about the jersey anymore.

With today's selection, "the woman customer can really shop for her needs," he said. "It cuts across all merchandise, colors, and fit. The line between fan-driven and fashion-driven has really blurred."

Experts say that accomplished, high-profile female athletes such as skier Lindsey Vonn, soccer player Carli Lloyd, and the WNBA league have been a boost to women's sports apparel sales. Events are also driving the growth.

The top seller the last four weeks in women's merchandise on fanatics.com has been the U.S. Women's World Cup championship T-shirt that sells for $29.95, Boyle said. (Lloyd scored the famous hat trick during the World Cup final.)

The first two Chelsea boutiques are in upscale shopping centers, including this week's opening in Pittsburgh, where Dick's Sporting Goods - with more than 600 stores nationally - is based. Dick's stores here include King of Prussia, Cherry Hill and Wilmington.

"We will use these first two stores as learning labs to evaluate future opportunities, both for Chelsea Collective and Dick's," said Lauren Hobart, Dick's senior vice president and general manager of the Chelsea Collective.

"We had done a lot over the last few years to speak directly to our female consumer," she said. "We launched Calia by Carrie Underwood in the spring, have expanded assortments and selections for women in our Dick's stores, and are now opening a new specialty shop to serve the female consumer in a whole new way."

Chelsea Collective is named after the diverse neighborhood in New York City. Among the brands it offers are Under Armour, Nike, and Hunter Boots. It also offers bags and beauty accessories.

Brooke Martell, 45, a registered nurse from Levittown, said she would visit a Chelsea boutique if one opened here.

The divorced mother of two teenage sons, who each plays multiple sports, is active herself. She runs at least three times a week, depending on work. Martell went to a Dick's store in Fairless Hills recently to buy football cleats and a mouthpiece for Joseph, 13, whose school football season just started.

Although she liked the selection at Dick's, Martell said, its items tended to be "pricier," so she often comparison shops at competitors.

Among her favorites are Nike and Reebok for sneakers, and Under Armour and Russell Athletic for workout T-shirts.

"I don't spend a lot on me, more for him and my other son," she said, pointing to Joseph. "But when I do want to buy something, I tend to look if it's on sale first."