Lululemon’s future lies beyond yoga pants
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.”
- Lululemon Now Wants To Dress You For Work, Not Just Workouts – Refinery29
- Inside Lululemon Lab, the Brand’s New Concept Store – InStyle
- Lululemon Athletica Inc. announces fourth quarter and full year fiscal 2015 results – Lululemon Athletica Inc.
- Lululemon profit rises as sales top $2B for first time last year – CBC News
- Lululemon buoyed by strong holiday sales – Financial Times (tiered sub.)
- Kate Hudson’s fame grows into an activewear chain – RetailWire
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?