Lululemon to launch first men's footwear line as it chases growth in crowded athletic apparel space

Canadian sportswear clothes band, Lululemon retailer in Hong Kong.

Budrul Chukrut | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Lululemon is launching its first males’s footwear line and informal sneaker as the retailer seems to be for brand spanking new avenues of growth in the more and more crowded athletic apparel space, the corporate introduced Thursday. 

The retailer is debuting its first informal sneaker, dubbed “cityverse,” together with two new trainers that can all come in each males’s and ladies’s kinds for the first time. Cityverse will launch Feb. 13, whereas the brand new operating fashions will debut in March and May. 

Lululemon’s foray into males’s footwear is a component of a bigger technique the corporate introduced in April 2022 to double its males’s enterprise and develop income to $12.5 billion by 2026.

“Doubling the boys’s enterprise is completely a key growth pillar for us, and whereas footwear is a comparatively small class for us and we’re early in our footwear journey, we’re excited by the prospect of simply the position it performs in providing him extra alternative,” Lululemon’s chief model officer, Nikki Neuburger, instructed CNBC in an interview.

Still, the launch is simply “icing on the cake and a bonus” for Lululemon as a result of the corporate’s growth technique “is not reliant on footwear,” mentioned Neuburger.

Lululemon’s expanded footwear assortment

Courtesy: Lululemon

The launch comes as Lululemon grows at a slower price than it has in the previous, and competitors from each legacy gamers like Nike and newer entrants such as On Running heats up. In the three months ended Oct. 29, Lululemon posted a 19% jump in sales, down from a 28% spike in the year-ago quarter.

Most of Wall Street nonetheless considers Lululemon a best-in-class retailer, however some companies predict its growth to reasonable extra as the corporate matures and demand throughout the sector slows. Last week, HSBC downgraded Lululemon to maintain from a earlier purchase ranking, as a result of it expects its sturdy efficiency in contrast with different retailers to slim as demand slows. 

Neuburger mentioned apparel will nonetheless be the “juggernaut” and “core” of Lululemon’s general enterprise. However, its enlargement into males’s footwear will give the retailer an edge when competing with the likes of Nike, Adidas, Hoka and On Running, which have all made males’s footwear central to their core providing. 

In December, Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald instructed analysts on the corporate’s third-quarter earnings name that its model consciousness amongst males stays low, at about 13% in the U.S.,12% in Australia and single digits all over the place else exterior of North America. He mentioned the figures present it has room to develop in the class.  

In order to stand out from the competitors, Lululemon goals to set itself aside with innovation and a powerful model title, Neuberger mentioned.

“The progressive strategy we take into design and our proprietary applied sciences … that isn’t one thing that different manufacturers are providing throughout all of their fashions in their assortment,” mentioned Neuberger.

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