Lululemon Transition To 'Work-Leisure'

The Business And Finance News You Need To Know
Charlie Richardson
14 January 2021
Lululemon Transition To 'Work-Leisure'

It is not just about looking active, it's how it makes us feel. Despite some questionable hygiene standards, we're still keen on working out in style, as Lululemon (+12.62%) demos its shutdown flexibility to cash-in online.

What Happened, and Why?  

Athleisure hits the sweet spot... Lockdown has craving routine and apparently adopting our own in the process: Sleep. Pump. Work. Repeat. And Lululemon remains the ultimate investment for people spending more time in 'comfies' and working out from home.

Let the number tell the story...

Vinyasa... Sales have risen +50% in April alone compared to trading at the beginning of the year as the retailer shows its flexibility in lockdown. One year on... And 200% has been added to sales compared to April 2019.

😅 Temporary sweet relief... The pick-up in trading is a timely boost for Lululemon which has just come out of a 'Chinese Meltdown'. Last month, Lululemon faced a nationwide backlash on Chinese social media (Weibo) after one of the company's Chief Art directors took racism into his own hands with his #batfriedrice insult to a nation...

Don't bite the hand that feeds you... China is Lemon's fourth-largest market in terms of outlets where it now has more than 38 stores.

Growing pains... Despite some pleading apologies, the hashtag “Lululemon insults China” and calls for a boycott were viewed 204 million times on Weibo. So maybe a different line to a trusted customer base might work better? It couldn't be a better time to enter the workplace (Work-from-home place) and no-wear is too formal for Lululemon. The ultimate garment-disruptor is not stopping at the yoga and athleisure game, the office is the next step.

WFH has brought colleagues into the bedrooms, kitchens, and private spaces of people across the world. While shirt-and-undies might work on the (very) odd occasions, Lululemon has turned its attention to a happy-medium: Work-leisure. And you might have noticed... That's the full-house: ✔️ Sleep ✔️ Pump ✔️ Work. Ye, we know, just food to go for the WFH clean sweep. Don't rule it out but China might have already done so.

The Takeaway

Namaste... Lululemon (or one employee at least) has made lockdown life a lot harder. When your main growth market starts trending a boycott, you'd think investors would start to worry. But the short-term pick-up is making up for a longer-term stunted growth which could leave some lasting damage. E-Flex... Lululemon continues to outperform 'wannabe athleisure' giants, Nike, Sweaty Betty, and Under Armour where shares have sunk this year while Lulu stays in the plank position. The yoga-lifestyle giant has validated it's investment into its e-commerce game and with stores shut, the flexibility is keeping the peace with investors, for now.