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With 150 Stores Reopened, Lululemon Will Take Cues from Asia’s Recovery

More than 150 Lululemon locations have reopened in Asia, North America, Europe, New Zealand and Australia, the company said on Thursday, with around 200 more to follow over the next two weeks.

The athletic apparel brand said it closed most of its stores outside Greater China in mid-March, a time when China was just recovering from the outbreak in Wuhan and elsewhere.

Lululemon will apply the lessons it learned reopening in the region to its international recovery.

“As we begin to reopen lululemon stores around the world, we are taking a balanced and thoughtful approach to ensure all necessary precautions are in place, and to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of our people, guests, and communities,” Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald said.

Stores are reopening on a “week-by-week, market-by-market” basis, it said, in accordance with local lockdown regulations.

Store employees will wear face coverings and receive daily health checks while working under modified hours. Customer occupancy will be limited at each retail location and Lululemon said it has reworked store layouts to promote physical distancing.

Alternating fitting rooms will remain closed in this new layout, putting more distance between customers without limiting the shopping experience. Lululemon will steer customers toward cashless and contactless tap-and-go payments at checkout to further limit unnecessary contact. Select stores offer same-day pickup for orders placed online.

Regardless of the altered shopping experience, McDonald said he expects Lululemon’s customer base to respond well to reopening considering the consumer connections it has maintained during the lockdown.

“Despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, we are inspired by how our guests have continued to connect digitally through our online offerings and believe lululemon remains well-positioned to help our guests live the sweatlife,” McDonald said.

Lululemon also extended its return policy to 30 days after each store location reopens, applicable to items purchased on or after Feb. 15. These returns will be held back for 24 hours before being returned to the sales floor.

In-store classes and events will remain canceled for the foreseeable future, the company said.