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Lululemon (Canada) Has Opened its First Swedish Store

18 Jun 2018 - Lululemon is riding the fitness and yoga wave.

Lululemon opened its first store in Stockholm this June, marking the yoga brand’s first Nordic expansion.

The Canadian company is expanding aggressively in Europe and Asia, hoping to grow global revenues to $4 billion by 2020.

Key growth sources are men’s clothing and e-commerce, two business areas Lululemon hope will combine for 50% of revenues by 2020.

Lululemon's head of EMEA, Gareth Pope, talks to BI about the company's Swedish expansion.

Yoga apparel brand Lululemon this June opened its first location in Sweden as it looks to capture a booming ‘athleisure’ market in Europe and elsewhere.

Founded as a single studio and store in Vancouver 1998, Lululemon today provides high-end yoga and athletic clothing across more than 400 stores. The brand is expanding aggressively in Europe and Asia as it targets $4 billion in global revenues by 2020, up from $1 billion in 2011.

Sweden marks Lululemon’s fifth physical expansion in Europe.

“Sweden is a leading country in Europe when it comes to understanding and enjoying the benefits of an active, balanced lifestyle – something we have been learning since we opened our Stockholm showroom in 2015,” says Gareth Pope, Lululemon’s General Manager EMEA to Business Insider Nordic.

Lululemon is looking to embed itself within Stockholm’s fitness community Though it’s long been associated with women’s yoga wear, Lululemon is now taking on the likes of Nike and Under Armour in order to generate 25% ($1 billion) of internal revenue from men’s apparel by 2020 - a near-doubling of what JP Morgan analysts estimate is 13-14 percent today.

Sweden will be no exception in that regard, according to Gareth Pope.

“We have received positive feedback from male guests on the longer leg lengths we offer in ABC pant franchise. We’re looking forward to executing tailored, local strategies to drive awareness of both our men’s and women’s offering within our Stockholm community.”

That Lululemon has been able to thrive despite hard times for physical retail is partly down to a differentiated marketing strategy, where community building and partnerships with gyms, (yoga) studios and brand ambassadors are key.

The purpose, according to Pope, is to educate customers and give them a “sense of belonging and empowerement.”

“For example, every week our stores turn their spaces into yoga studios, with complimentary classes led by local instructors and ambassadors,” says Pope.

Whether or not the Stockholm store is a prelude to Nordic-wide presence Pope didn't comment in any detail. But considering the former Nike exec’s ambitious targets, to grow Europe into a $1 billion market by 2020, there is reason to believe Helsinki or Copenhagen could be next.

How will the Stockholm store opening affect Lululemon’s Swedish or Nordic e-commerce operation, if at all?

“Our stores are and always will be a key touchpoint, however, we know that consumers crave both human connection and the ease and immediacy of online. The power of digital is to scale these connections.”

Many Swedes are surely familiar with Lululemon. But for people who haven’t come across the brand, why should they be interested?

“We design category-defining products that solve specific problems for our guests. Our vertically-integrated business model and community-led approach position us at the forefront of an evolving retail landscape, fueled by new consumer behaviour and a global shift towards health and wellness.”

Business Insider