Celeste Burgoyne, Lululemon’s executive vice president of retail for the Americas, said during ICR’s retail conference that one of the most important things for the brand in terms of physical retail is being “agile,” which she defined as the ability to change size and shape when needed.
“The way we’re looking at it, is three years ago, we had one [type] of store footprint,” Burgoyne said. “It was a 3,000-square-foot box and it looked the same everywhere — we opened new stores that looked exactly the same as the store before. Today, I’m really excited to be standing here with three new store types.”
Those stores are Lululemon’s “colocated” units, which is essentially an expanded floor plan of 5,000 to 6,000 square feet that includes a full men’s department, 12 of which have opened over the past year. Then there is the “local,” a set of smaller stores taking up about 1,000 to 2,000 square feet that make up the bulk of the brand’s 325 store footprint. And more recently there is the “seasonal” store, which started this past holiday period with nearly two dozen temporary stores in targeted markets.
“These stores trended almost 50 percent in new guest acquisition and really allow us to show up for our guests in holiday in a really special way,” Burgoyne added.
With some help from these temporary stores, Lululemon said separately on Monday that it expects fourth-quarter net revenues to fall between $905 million and $915 million, compared with previous guidance of $870 million to $885 million.
But Lululemon hasn’t been totally spared the retail reckoning happening throughout the industry. Last year, it decided to close the majority of stores dedicated to its girls line Ivivva and focus that brand online. The decision has taken a sizable bite out of quarterly profits, but overall sales have continued to grow.
The company is also putting a lot of energy into its digital presence, with a site relaunch this past fall. Burgoyne said mobile traffic has continued to grow significantly and that personalization will be “a big focus for us into 2018.”
This coincides with Lululemon’s recent hiring of Rémi Paringaux to fill the newly created role of brand creative director, where he will focus on range of creative content and experiences across the Lululemon brand, not product design.
Paringaux’s hiring came in the wake of comes around the same time that Lululemon’s creative director and senior vice president Lee Holman decided to leave the company after about three years for “personal reasons.”
Chief executive officer Laurent Potdevin confirmed last month that Holman will be replaced, but the company was “in no rush.” The company is also planning to soon announce a hire related to women’s design that Potdevin said will be “really powerful.”
Design for men’s, a growing category for Lululemon and one it expects to be a $1 billion portion of an expected $4 billion business by 2020, is led by Ben Stubbington.
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