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Menswear, shoes and self-care: How Lululemon is chasing revenue growth

FILE - This June 5, 2017, file photo, shows a Lululemon Athletica logo outside a store on Newbury Street in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

Lululemon Athletica Inc. unveiled an ambitious growth strategy at its investor day in New York City on Wednesday, one that seeks to double menswear revenues while at the same time quadrupling international earnings.

The Vancouver-based apparel company also plans on expanding its product offering to include footwear and self-care products – somewhat uncharted territory for Lululemon, which has in the past focused largely on women’s wear specifically for yoga.

“We have very low brand awareness with men,” chief executive Calvin McDonald said on Wednesday.

“We can do more with what we know today.”

Under the leadership of McDonald, who joined the company last July, Lululemon has targeted growing annual revenues by a margin in the low teens for the next five years. To achieve those revenue targets, Lululemon plans on doubling revenues of its men’s and digital business by 2023, and quadruple international revenues.

To grow the men’s side of the business, which currently represents about 21 per cent of the company’s revenues, chief product officer Sue Choe said the focus will be on guest acquisition and raising brand awareness.

“We feel like in this space we don’t have enough guys that really know Lululemon to be a brand for them and we’re trying to get over the idea that Lululemon is a women’s brand,” Choe said.

While Choe said 2018 was considered a growth year for the men’s side of the business, 2019 will be more focused on new product launches, including the start of a run franchise for men called “Fast and Free.”

Self-care and footwear

Choe also said Lululemon will roll out its self-care line – which includes deodorant, dry shampoo, lip balm and a facial moisturizer – to 50 stores and its online shop in the summer. The company had initially tested the products across 17 stores in Toronto, Chicago and Orange County.

“Based on tests and results, we are optimistic that there is an opportunity for us here,” Choe said.

Footwear is also an area that the company is eyeing for future product expansion. Lululemon had initially partnered with Athletic Propulsion Labs to sell shoes in select stores across North America in 2017. Now, following the success of that partnership, Lululemon wants to launch its own footwear line.

“We shared self-care and footwear as examples of some categories that we’ve tested and had good response with our guests,” McDonald said. However, don’t expect it to roll out tomorrow.

“It’s going to be limited and small when we test, and it's not something that we're going to be in (the) market anytime soon with. We’ll share plans at a later date,” McDonald said.

“We understand the competitiveness of (that space) and we want to enter it with something that is unique, defined and focused.”

While Lululemon might be launching new products, don’t expect the company to jump into sports like soccer or hockey anytime soon. Yoga, training and running remain the key focus for the company, McDonald said.

“There are other activities that we’ve identified where we know our current guests sweat in and we want to make sure that we are there to service their needs,” McDonald said. “We have no roadmap to play in baseball, football, hockey, soccer and others.”

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