Lululemon's new store all work, no sport


  Marcus LeBlanc, Lululemon head designer of New York Lab


Lululemon's (NASDAQ:LULU) latest retail effort that opened this week in New York City is a departure for the brand. Gone is athletic wear, and in its place is more fashion-forward, work-friendly apparel.

The Lab is a 2,900-sq.-ft. store in Manhattan's NoHo neighborhood. According to Women's Wear Daily, it will carry Lululemon's most fashion-forward selection of apparel to date.

The clothing is a mix of work-friendly items in colors more muted than the typical yoga tank, in proprietary fabrics made in the same factories as its athleticwear. It's also an experiment in hyper-local personalization.

"We're able to focus beyond just athleticism and be able to provide garments for your entire life. [It's a] full wardrobe," Marcus LeBlanc, Lululemon head designer of New York Lab, told WWD. "You aren't wearing it to the gym and that's part of what is unique about the lab."

This isn't Lululemon's first Lab store—one opened in Vancouver in 2009. But it does reflect the brand's efforts to tailor assortment to an individual market. The merchandise at the New York location is different than that in Vancouver.

Lululemon has struggled to connect with shoppers in recent years after a mishap in production rendered its famed yoga pants transparent and attempts to save face with the public backfired. But the brand has come roaring back, reporting higher-than-expected earnings for its fourth quarter and full year.

For more:
-See this Women's Wear Daily story (tiered subscription)

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