More retailers jump on Yoga bandwagon

Publish Date: July 25, 2014

lululemon

The yoga-apparel sector is intent on stretching itself still more. Discounters, department stores like Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, and such specialty chains as Gap Inc.’s Athleta and VF Corp.’s Lucy are battling for market share against sector leader Lululemon. Athleta alone plans to open 100 stores over the next two years. Lululemon and Lucy have seen sales slide. In the first quarter Lululemon reported its first same-store sales decline since 2009. The chain’s 2013 same-store sales growth of 2 percent lagged the overall U.S. women’s-apparel market growth of 9 percent, according to NPD Group. And Lululemon is anticipating another low-to-mid-single-digit decline for the second quarter later this month. “Yes, Lulu has been a little bit off, but they were at the summit,” said Mark Yale, Glimcher Realty’s CFO, on an earnings call. “So their sales per square foot are still some of the highest in all of retail. The category’s become very broad, and it’s become more than just yoga — it’s workout; it’s also apparel that people wear. We see that as a very strong category that is going to grow quite a bit.” Yoga retailers are even branching out into ‘B’ malls, whereas in the past they have targeted only high-end locations, said Chairman Michael P. Glimcher. Limited Brands has a Victoria’s Secret Sport line that has been very successful at its stores in Glimcher Realty malls, Glimcher said. “Yoga wear at a lower price point than Lulu and Athleta will go into the ‘B’ and ‘C’ malls,” Glimcher said. Lululemon aims to open its first men’s stores in 2016 and to expand its U.S. store network over the next few years to about 270 units from 170. “We are focused on building a scalable foundation to further elevate our North American business and pursue the brand’s incredible international potential,” said Lululemon CEO Laurent Potdevin in a press release. “Despite a reduced outlook, I am confident that the work we are doing today will only enhance our premium positioning as we continue to lead as the market innovator.”


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