There are massive retail flagship stores that showcase a brand’s very best and then there is what Lululemon (LULU) plans to open in Chicago next month.
Think of the new outpost as a retail store selling women’s fitness bras and men’s underwear mashed together with a yoga studio, an Apple store and a Jamba Juice. Twenty-something-year-olds taking Soulcycle classes can scream now (provided you live in Chicago).
Lululemon confirmed on a conference call with Wall Street analysts Wednesday night it will open a 20,000-square-foot store in Chicago in July. Some of the features in the palace dedicated to sweat include: multiple yoga studios, a meditation space, a juice bar (that yes, has food) and areas for community gatherings.
A spokeswoman declined to share photos of the new spot with Yahoo Finance.
Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald is playing it close to the vest on whether the flagship store means others are coming and if there will be less of a focus on mall locations. “Well, it's definitely a test,” McDonald told analysts.
“So, it is a test and we will learn from that. And then figure out how within our flexible fleet that we have today from seasonal stores to small, up to our large format,” McDonald added. “This we believe could become just another mix within our portfolio of how we go into a market and deliver our experience to our guests. But it's a test we're going to learn and we'll go from there.”
The timing to showcase Lululemon 2.0 couldn’t be more perfect. Lululemon said Wednesday its first quarter comparable store sales — a key retail metric — increased a solid 6%. Online sales gained an impressive 35%, fueled by strong gains in men’s and women’s products.
Lululemon shares popped 3% on Thursday.