With coronavirus-led curbs being lifted gradually, several companies are opening up operations gradually. Moving on such lines, lululemon Athletica Inc. LULU is also reopening stores in a phased manner. Following its successful reopening in Greater China, the yoga-inspired athletic apparel company is opening stores in select other regions, week-by-week and market-by-market as per the guidelines of local governments as well as public health authority.
lululemon has reopened more than 150 store locations till today, across North America, Asia, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Further, about 200 more locations are likely to re-open in the next two weeks. Other apparel companies like Columbia Sportswear COLM and PVH Corp. PVH are also re-opening stores in a phased manner. Meanwhile, lululemon informed that with the stores reopening, the company has undertaken extra measures to ensure safety and sanitization.
While lululemon shut stores amid the pandemic, the company used its online channel as the key tool to stay firm. Notably, when most of its stores were closed in China during February, the company’s digital business promptly met consumer demand through its efficient distribution network and supply chain investments. Apart from this, the company used its online channel to offer virtual yoga, meditation, pilates, dance and training classes for guests.
It added thousands of new followers for the company on WeChat in China during the pandemic-related lockdowns. In the initial week of store closures in North America and Europe, the company saw 170,000 new guest enrolments for its live classes on Instagram. This strategy gave lululemon an edge of remaining connected with its guests during the tough times and provided a solid base for growth in the post-coronavirus recovery market. In fact, this was well demonstrated in China, where the company is witnessing robust growth both in-stores and online, as most of the stores in the country have reopened.
Apart from this, lululemon is likely to gain from its focus on three core objectives – product innovation, augmenting omni-guest experiences and market expansion. The company has been optimistic about the innovations it plans to bring in its assortments for both men and women. Further, it has been committed toward investing in strategies to maintain customer footfall, including efforts to augment store base and enhancing shopping experiences.
lululemon, which shares space with Under Armour UAA, currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Shares of lululemon have rallied 15.4% year to date, against the industry’s decline of 34.9%.
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