As Chinese consumers warm up to the concept of personal fitness and healthcare as a new form of luxury, technical gear giant Lululemon’s popularity has seen a significant boom in China.
The company’s year-over-year sales in Asia have increased 70 percent in the second quarter, according to an announcement made during a conference call following its recently released financial report. Company CEO Laurent Potdevin also pointed out that the opening of new stores in the region, and the upsurge in online sales in China contributed to the increase.
“Our Tmall business increased 175 percent fueled by more than doubling our traffic coupled with higher conversion,” said Potdevin. The brand launched its online store on e-commerce giant Alibaba’s Tmall last year and it has remained Lululemon’s only official online retail platform in China.
In terms of physical locations, the brand currently has four retail locations in three cities—Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu—in mainland China, and one store in Hong Kong, and Potdevin has expressed interest in expansion.
“We are on track to open 12 stores in Asia this year with six stores planned in the second half in China in Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Shenzhen.”
As the brand’s initiative in its menswear division grows, as demonstrated by the opening of two men’s-only stores in New York City and Toronto with a new black-and-white version of the classic red logo for the men’s stores, Potdevin also pointed out that the investment has paid off. Men’s products are on the rise with a potential of more than $1 billion in annual sales by 2020, he has said. The brand has yet to announce if any of the new stores in China will be men’s-only.
On a note less bright, the brand’s net income for the latest quarter has declined 10 percent compared to the same period last year. And a March Google report called “A Guide to What Teens Think is Cool” showed that Lululemon was ranked on the lower end of the spectrum for both brand awareness and coolness, by Millennials and Gen Z.