Lululemon Athletica Inc., the sports apparel company known for its pricey yoga gear, was featured in Chain Store Guide’s Companies to Watch Report in November 2008. At the time the company operated 80 stores in the United States, 44 in Canada and another 10 in China and Australia. The company ended its last quarter July 31, 2011 with 151 stores in North America and Australia.
The Vancouver-based company was founded by entrepreneur Chip Wilson in 1998 after he took a yoga class and found clothing then available wasn’t ideal for yoga. Lululemon’s revenue logged a compound annual growth rate of 52.3 percent from 2005 to 2009. The company’s revenue grew 57 percent last year, to $712 million. The company recently reported revenue for fiscal 2011 may increase as much as 33 percent to $950 million.
Nike, Gap and Nordstrom, wanting a share in the profits, have recently tried to mimic Lululemon’s strategy. Nike Inc.’s Salvation chain of athletic-wear stores is selling $64 training capris and features a yoga-studio format similar to that of Lululemon. Gap Inc.’s Athleta stores sell $59 women’s yoga tops and offer free yoga classes, another Lululemon innovation. Nordstrom Inc.’s Zella line, dedicated to yoga attire, hired a former Lululemon Product Manager to design its products.
The big question for Lululemon and its rivals is whether yoga still has room to grow. To follow Lululemon Athletica Inc. and all apparel specialty stores, see Chain Store Guide’s databases of Apparel Specialty Stores and Departments Stores. Headquarter information includes store count, sales figures, and product lines.

Natasha Perry Research Editor
Natasha has held several management positions in the apparel industry. She received her bachelor’s degree in Marketing Management from FL Southern College. Please contact her if you have questions or comments.