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Nike + lululemon Update: Strong Performance Amid Expansion Plans

Bracha Arnold
March 16, 2023
Nike + lululemon Update: Strong Performance Amid Expansion Plans

The retail landscape continues to shift, and companies are adapting to meet changing consumer demands and preferences. To better understand current trends, we analyzed location intelligence metrics for two brands successfully navigating tricky economic waters: Nike and lululemon. With interest in fitness and sporting goods still strong, both companies are focusing on new growth opportunities and continuing to expand their brick-and-mortar presence despite the ongoing headwinds.

Experiential Shopping Helping Drive Monthly Visits

Combined monthly visits to Nike’s branded stores and factory stores as well as foot traffic to lululemon t have been elevated year-over-year (YoY). And though lululemon experienced slight YoY visit gaps in October and November 2022 – in part due to the unique strength of the extended holiday season in 2021 – the chain still outperformed the overall sporting goods apparel segment in all months analyzed. 

Nike, meanwhile, offered steep discounts on much of its stock toward the end of 2022 in a bid to offload excess inventory, which likely contributed to the significant YoY visit spikes. December 2022 saw foot traffic to the athletic-wear giant growing by 8.2% YoY, and January and February visits grew by 21.8% and 6.0%, respectively. In contrast, the overall sporting goods segment saw YoY visit gaps of 3.6%, 5.5%, and 7.6% over the same period. 

The elevated visits that both companies have been experiencing may also be a result of their positioning as experiential retail leaders. Lululemon piloted the concept in 1998, operating as a design studio by day and a yoga studio by night. As the brand expanded, the practice of offering in-store classes also grew. 

Similarly, Nike has long experimented with moving beyond the traditional parameters of what a store can provide. And the company has recently doubled down on its experiential shopping, rolling out its Live, Rise, and House of Innovation concepts over the past few years. In an age when brick-and-mortar stores must compete with the ease of online shopping, a unique experience can keep customers coming through the door. 

More Stores Meeting More Demand

Visits per venue to both companies also remained high in a YoY comparison, with combined February visits to Nike and Nike Factory Stores elevated by 3.7% and visits to lululemon stores up by 5.2%. The increase in visits per venue is especially noteworthy given that both brands have increased their store count over the past few years and are continuing to add more stores to their fleets. 

Lululemon has been slowly, but steadily growing its U.S. store fleet over the past few years and is now focusing on a more aggressive international expansion, with plans to quadruple its international revenue by 2026. But while much of the company’s growth is to take place abroad, the athleisure leader still has plenty of room to expand domestically as well.

Meanwhile, Nike grew from 30 stores in 2021 to 48 in 2022 (not including its Factory Stores) and is planning a 200 store fleet expansion over the coming years. This growth, coupled with the elevated visits to each location, highlights the continued relevance of brick-and-mortar – especially ones that offer exciting customer experiences like Nike and lululemon do.

Athleisure Continues To Dominate

As the fitness industry enjoys its post-pandemic gains, and with the athleisure market slated to keep on growing, both Nike and lululemon should continue to see their visits increasing.

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