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Multinational athletic apparel retailer

lululemon athletica inc

Lululemon store in Hong Kong, July 2021
Type Public
Traded as
  • Nasdaq: LULU
  • Nasdaq-100 component
ISIN US5500211090
Industry Retail
Founded 1998; 24 years ago (1998)
Founder Chip Wilson
Headquarters Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Number of locations
574 (Dec 2021)
Area served
North America, Asia, Europe, Oceania
Key people
  • Calvin McDonald (CEO)
  • Glenn Murphy (chairman)
  • Meghan Frank (CFO)
  • Kristin Brady (CPO)
  • Celeste Burgoyne (EVP, Americas)
Products Sportswear
Brands Lab
Revenue US$626 billion (2021)
Operating income
US$133 billion (2021)
Net income
US$9753 million (2021)
Total assets US$494 billion (2021)
Total equity US$274 billion (2021)
Number of employees
29,000 (Jan 2022)
Divisions
  • Lululemon Athletica
  • OQOQO
  • Ivivva Athletica
Website lululemoncom
Footnotes / references

lululemon athletica inc (/ˌlluˈlɛmən/; styled in all lowercase) is a Canadian multinational athletic apparel retailer headquartered in British Columbia and incorporated in Delaware, United States It was founded in 1998 as a retailer of yoga pants and other yoga wear, and has expanded to also sell athletic wear, lifestyle apparel, accessories, and personal care products The company has 574 stores internationally, and also sells online

History

Lululemon was founded in 1998 by Chip Wilson in Vancouver, with its first standalone store opening in November 2000 Wilson created the name to have many L’s so that it would sound western to Japanese buyers, who often have difficulty pronouncing the letter He later remarked that he found it “funny to watch try and say it”

The company’s initial public offering was in July 2007, raising $3276 million by selling 182 million shares Christine Day, a former co-president of Starbucks, became chief executive officer in 2008

In 2013, the company made its third consecutive appearance on Fortune's Fastest-Growing Companies list In December 2013, founder Chip Wilson announced his resignation as chairman, and that the president of TOMS Shoes, Laurent Potdevin, would become CEO

In 2014, Lululemon opened its first store in Europe, a flagship shop in Covent Garden, London In February 2015, Wilson announced that he was resigning from the board, and that Michael Casey, former lead director of the board, would replace him In 2018, Laurent Potdevin resigned as CEO and from the company’s board due to misconduct

From its founding through 2015, Lululemon incorporated elements of Landmark Forum into its leadership and development training According to a company source, seventy per cent of managers are hired internally Store managers are responsible for their store’s layout, color coordination, and community involvement

In 2019, Lululemon announced an investment in MIRROR, a fitness startup that sells an interactive mirror with a camera and speakers for at-home workouts The companies planned to create new content for the device, starting with meditation classes In June 2020, Lululemon announced a $500 million deal to purchase MIRROR, capitalizing on a growing trend of people conducting virtual workouts at home instead of going to a gym due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Products

Lululemon sells athletic wear including tops, yoga pants – a product that the company invented, shorts, sweaters, jackets and undergarments, as well as hair accessories, bags, yoga mats, water bottles, and personal care products such as deodorant and dry shampoo Lululemon trademarked its original fabric, Luon, which included a higher-than-average amount of nylon microfiber, in 2005 Since then, the company has produced several different types of fabrics, including compression and moisture-wicking designs Lululemon is primarily known for their leggings, which first made the brand popular

Lululemon maintains a research and development lab, “Whitespace,” within its headquarters It has around 50 employees including scientists and physiologists

In 2019, the company launched a luxury streetwear brand called Lab in a few of its stores In The company planned to double its men’s business in the next five years beyond its women’s and accessory business, competing against other athletic wear such as Nike and Under Armour

Marketing

Two Lululemon stores with their products in exhibition, (left) Promenade; (right): Hong Kong

Originally known for women’s yoga apparel, by 2019 Lululemon had grown by acquiring more male customers and adapting its product and marketing strategies accordingly; it plans to increase awareness of its brand among men The company has been stated to use “holistic guerrilla marketing”, aiming to make customers feel that by wearing Lululemon clothing they are part of a larger community It uses social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as a main method of marketing the company and its products Lululemon offers fitness instructors 25 percent off their orders Lululemon had a network of 270 stores around the world in 2018; all its products are also sold online In terms of product development, Lululemon is trying to develop new fabrics such as Nulu that are more comfortable for active use

Controversies

In November 2007, The New York Times reported that Lululemon made false claims about its Vitasea clothing product; the firm had claimed that the clothing, made from seaweed, provided “anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, hydrating and detoxifying benefits” but laboratory tests failed to find significant differences in mineral levels between ordinary T-shirt cotton and Vitasea fabric Lululemon was subsequently forced to remove all health claims from its seaweed-based products marketed in Canada, following a demand from a Canadian oversight agency, the Competition Bureau of Canada

In 2013, some customers complained that the clothing was of poor quality, with some items being “too sheer”, having holes appear, and falling apart after a few uses In December 2010, Lululemon recalled some of the store’s reusable bags that were made from polypropylene, based on reports of high levels of lead In 2013, Lululemon recalled its black yoga pants that were unintentionally transparent and “too thin”; the recall, which amounted to approximately 17 percent of all women’s pants sold in its stores, impacted its financial results The resulting financial loss and damage to the brand led to the forced departure of the company’s Chief product officer, Sheree Waterson, and of its CEO, Christine Day

Founder Chip Wilson has made numerous controversial statements In a 2004 interview, Wilson mocked Japanese pronunciation of the company’s name In 2013 he said that the company did not make clothes for plus-size women because it was too costly In an effort to explain away excessive pilling in the brand’s clothing, he blamed some customers for wearing Lululemon’s clothes improperly or for having body shapes inconsistent with his clothes In an interview for Bloomberg TV in 2013, he stated that some women’s bodies were unsuitable for the brand’s clothing Time called the remarks “fat shaming” Comments such as these reportedly led to Wilson’s resignation as chairman In June 2016, Wilson published an open letter to shareholders stating that the company had “lost its way” and given up market share to Nike and Under Armour, after he was denied the opportunity to speak at the company’s annual meetings Since then, Wilson has used his website “Elevate Lululemon” to criticize the brand and business

In 2012, Lululemon filed a lawsuit against Calvin Klein and supplier G-III Apparel Group for infringement of three of its design patents for yoga pants The lawsuit was somewhat unusual as it involved a designer seeking to assert intellectual property protection in clothing through patent rights The case was settled out of court the same year

In 2021, a Business Insider report revealed that an unnamed company director pushed employees to create an All Lives Matter campaign to be displayed on its website in response to the murder of George Floyd Employees pushed back but were told to move forward and create a mock up with the All Lives Matter copy, however they also created a Black Lives Matter artwork mock up that in the end was selected instead The director apologized to 200 members of the company over conference call and subsequently left the company

In September 2022, 1,698 yoga teachers and students via advocacy groups Standearth and Actions Speaks Louder wrote to the company demanding a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030 They claimed that roughly half of the firm’s energy came from coal production

See also

  • Lululemon murder

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