The Canadian athletic apparel, accessories and footwear retailer quietly launched on the Chinese e-commerce site earlier this week, offering a selection of performance and athleisure apparel in its new digital storefront.
“With the continuous improvement of quality of life in China, sports enthusiasts are growing considerably, as well as their demand for sports equipment consumption,” JD wrote in a blog post on the company’s website. “The popularity of Lululemon indicates that the Chinese market not only acknowledges the product quality, but also recognizes the emotional connection it creates between the community and the brand.”
Lululemon did not respond to requests for comment. But the news comes just weeks after the retailer revealed plans to expand in Europe with stores and an e-commerce site in Spain for the first time. Earlier this month, executives at Lululemon also said the firm has plans to open new stores in Thailand and Italy within the next 12 months. There’s also a second experiential store opening in Houston later this year.
Meanwhile, China’s growing middle class and added wealth has sparked interest among retailers and companies throughout the industry — including Lululemon — for some time. Even China’s continued lockdowns and zero-COVID-19 policies in some markets haven’t deterred brands from increasing efforts to expand in the region.
“We remain excited about our business in China and we view these headwinds as short-term in nature,” Calvin McDonald, Lululemon’s chief executive officer, said during the firm’s June conference call with analysts.
Approximately a third of Lululemon’s 71 stores in China were closed during the first quarter and at least part of the current second quarter. Still, the region generated double-digit revenue growth during the first recent quarter.
In April, Lululemon laid out its new five-year growth strategy, with plans to surpass $12.5 billion in revenues and quadruple the international business by 2026. In China, the retailer hopes to roughly triple its retail footprint during that time, helping to increase brand awareness among Chinese consumers. Lululemon, which also sells on China’s Tmall, anticipates China will be the second biggest market globally by 2026.