Last week, the athletic apparel and accessories maker opened a new store in Hong Kong, even as many retailers in North America and Europe remain closed over concerns about the coronavirus — including Lululemon.
“There is considerable work under way across the business to respond to the current situation,” Lululemon chief executive officer Calvin McDonald said on the company’s March 26 conference call with analysts. “We will do our best to open our stores as soon as possible when the recovery begins and will approach this market-by-market based upon the latest information.
“The underlying health of our business is strong, which provides us with many levers to successfully manage through this period,” McDonald continued. “We’re confident in our abilities to navigate the near term while working to realize the opportunities over the longer term. In addition, we have early learnings from China, which show us that our business will bounce back.”
During the March call, McDonald said all stores in China, with the exception of the unit in Wuhan, China — where the virus is believed to have originated — had reopened. (The Wuhan store has since reopened.) Stores in North America and Europe, meanwhile, have been closed since March 16 with no word yet as to when they’ll reopen.
In early April, when many competitors were announcing furloughs, Lululemon promised to pay all associates through June 1, regardless of whether stores were open or closed.
McDonald said the company would lean into its digital business in the meantime.
But the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company has been charting its expansion in Asia for some time.
As of Feb. 2, the company had 491 stores, 38 of them in the Greater China region. The store in Hong Kong marks the seventh there and the largest to date at 5,590 square feet. The store, located in the Tsim Sha Tsui district in Harbour City, a premium shopping neighborhood, offers the Asian fit collection, along with the Lululemon Lab collection.
Shares of Lululemon, which closed down 0.22 percent Tuesday to $218.21, are up 22.8 percent year-over-year.