Lululemon’s future lies beyond yoga pants

Mar 31, 2016

Yoga pants helped make Lululemon Athletica. See-through yoga pants almost undid the retailer. Now, the company is looking beyond its yoga-inspired apparel to assure its success for years to come.

Earlier this week, the retailer opened its Lululemon Lab concept store in the U.S. at 50 Bond Street in New York’s Noho neighborhood. The idea behind the Lab is for Lululemon to create clothes based on location. In New York, the focus is on items that make the transition from work to play, while the store in Vancouver, BC has merchandise geared for out of doors pursuits.

“Lululemon is best in the world with sweat [-wicking clothes], and now we’re experimenting with new ways of using the brand’s technology and [customer] information and infusing that into other parts of your life,” Marcus Le Blanc, head designer of Lululemon Lab’s NYC store, told Refinery29. “We’re using a lot of great technologies in our construction — a lot of them are not sewn at all.”

Lululemon has come a long way since it had to recall unintentionally see-through yoga pants in 2013. The chain posted a same-store sales increase of five percent in the most recent quarter. With online sales added in, comp sales were up 11 percent for the period. Importantly, the chain’s profits declined less than expected in a market where it faces pressure from lower cost alternatives such as Fabletics.

Lululemon CEO Laurent Potdevin said the company has focused on improving the customer experience to address the competition.

“In 2015, we made bold moves across the organization, elevating design and innovation and developing our infrastructure to position us for the future,” said Mr. Potvin in a statement. “As I look forward to 2016 and beyond, I am excited and confident that we have the right team in place to execute on our long term strategies.”

Do you see Lululemon on the right track as it focuses on customer experience in its mainline stores while seeking opportunities outside of yoga with its Lab concept? What will it need to do to build on its 2015 gains?

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2 Comments on "Lululemon’s future lies beyond yoga pants"

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Gordon Arnold
6 years 1 month ago

Comments such as having the right team in place worry me. I would much rather see the right product in inventory for the consumer to own and enjoy. This brings about concerns of the recent successes being largely due to media attention and social momentum. The next several quarters will let us know if we have a real winner here. The numbers are much in favor of this being a winner, that is for sure. As always sustenance is the true measure of a plan’s success.

Shep Hyken
6 years 1 month ago

I hope Lululemon doesn’t forget what “got them to the dance.” That said, once they have a fan base, and they do, expanding their offerings is natural. Just don’t take away what the fans (as in loyal customers) love about Lululemon!


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