PORTLAND, Ore. – Lucy Activewear, the women’s activewear company launched in Portland by former Nike executives, will close by the end of the year.

Local and corporate employees confirmed the news to KGW Friday afternoon.

Lucy will be folded into the North Face brand. Both Lucy and North Face are owned by the parent company VF. A decision to keep the Lucy branding after the move has not yet been made.

Lucy spokeswoman Dawn Dzedzy said part of the reason for the change is tougher competition among women's activewear companies such as Athleta and Lululemon.

"Just in the last eight years, the growth in competition has really been intense from a lot of brands - existing brands, newcomers, ready-to-wear brands that have branched out into athletic wear," Dzedzy said.

Most of the company's 44 stores will remain open at least through the fall of 2017. New products will continue to arrive at stores through the fall.

"Our intention is to have them closed by the end of 2017 or very early 2018," she said.

Lucy employees nationwide were informed of the decision last Thursday.

The Pearl District location on Northwest Couch Street will likely close by the end of October, Dzedzy said. The Washington Square location will close in October or November and Bridgeport Village will remain open through the end of the year.

The store closures are based on when leases end. Online sales will also shutter by the end of the year.

Lucy Activewear was founded in 1999 as an online shop and opened its first store location in 2002. Lucy moved its headquarters from Portland to San Leandro, Calif. in 2010.

Retail stores have recently taken a hit as many shoppers move online. J.C. Penney, Macy's and Sears all recently announced they are closing some stores.