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Lululemon Eyes International Markets As Potential For Growth

Lululemon Athletica views the world as their oyster and the Canadian-based retailer of yoga and workout apparel wants to pry it open.

Ambitious plans are now being tested by Lululemon to penetrate overseas venues while the company continues its quest for a new CEO.

Currently, Lululemon is testing a small boutique in Hong Kong and will soon open a store in London to hype and offer its new Ivivva line for girls, and attempt to attract male consumers as well.

With an impressive record of successes — Lululemon’s share price has skyrocketed about 500 percent since its launch in 2007 — investors and speculators seem optimistic about the company’s future.

Last quarter revenues, ending August 4, were up almost 22 percent, a doubly significant increase in a generally lackluster economy.  In Lululemon’s boom years quarterly growth was often north of 30 percent.

Next quarter revenue doesn’t look as rosy, however, with sales expected to be under ten percent.

Although Lululemon looks abroad for long-term growth opportunities, industry analysts cite the U.S. market as perhaps its best venue for mid-term growth.  Lululemon now has some 150 retail outlets in the U.S. and successfully operate an additional 150 stores, according to retailing experts.

Lululemon’s ambitious growth strategies also include more rigorous quality control, adding new manufacturers and its plans to launch stand-alone stores for men by 2016.

On the debit side, although fading from consumer memory, is Lululemon’s recall of too revealing pants.

The major obstacles to Lululemon’s attempt to expand into international markets, are bureaucratic red tape, cultural differences and different spending habits of foreign consumers.