Lululemon Is the Latest Company Attempting to Court the Sneakerheads

Watch out, Nike.
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Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

In an effort to achieve complete athleisure domination, Lululemon is continuing its expansion beyond its bestselling yoga pants and sports bras (though sports bras did make the company quite a bit of money in 2018). The brand, which made $3.3 billion in sales last year, announced on Wednesday its plan to develop its own footwear line, with which it would, in effect, reach its final form as a one-stop shop for all things performance wear.

This comes on the heels of Lululemon's footwear collaboration with Athletic Propulsion Labs that launched in August 2017, which includes both men's and women's sneakers and is currently still offered online, as well as in select stores.

"We learned a lot through the collaboration," CEO Calvin McDonald said during a meeting with analysts in New York. "We believe we have identified an opportunity that will be unique to us in the marketplace."

Beyond that, the upscale activewear company won't have more to share until later this year. The brand's plan to sell footwear was part of a larger set of goals announced on Wednesday, which include doubling both its men's offering and digital sales, in addition to quadrupling international revenue by 2023.

Despite the perception that Lululemon is primarily women-focused, this is not the first time Lululemon has vowed to make menswear a priority: During its 2016 earning webcast, the company announced accelerated growth in men's — with sales increasing 20% on average each quarter — and its intentions to capitalize on that by turning its men's business into a $1 billion platform. 

For its international market, Lululemon is looking to open about 30 new stores, focusing on China and the APAC and EMEA regions. But this expansion doesn't mean the brand intends to neglect North America: Lululemon expects to open around 50 stores total in the United States this year, including a 25,000 square-foot experimental store in Chicago. Expected to open its doors in July, the Chicago location will be equipped with yoga studios, meditation space, food options and community gathering space.

Earlier this month, the brand announced its intention to launch a self-care line in late spring, which will include deodorant, dry shampoo, basic balm and facial moisturizer.

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