Lululemon eyes Asia growth

Yogawear retailer Lululemon sees a positive future in Asia, despite bad experiences in Japan and Australia.

Announcing a 13 per cent jump in global revenue in 2014 to US$1.6 billion, the Canadian company reiterated plans to open a new store in Hong Kong this year.

The company plans 20 new stores in Europe and Asia this year with Hong Kong, Germany and the UK singled out as priorities.

CEO Laurent Potdevin told analysts in a conference call he believed international revenues could eventually exceed those from North America.

Lululemon currently has stores in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Australia and New Zealand.

It once had stores in Japan but withdrew from that market in 2009 after poor sales. It has also trimmed its network in Australia where sales failed to meet expectations.

Besides Asia, the company is bullish about its prospects in the Middle East.

It has a partnership with Dubai-based retail conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim to open stores in the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait. The first store is scheduled to open in Dubai late this year

Potdevin described 2014 as “a critical year when we strengthened our leadership team and made important investments in our product pipeline, guest experience, brand, and community engagement”.

“In 2015, we expect to substantially complete this foundational work and accelerate our investments in innovation to drive sustainable global growth as we continue to lead the market that we created,” he said in an earnings statement.



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