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lululemon athletica inc.
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Canada, United States, Australia, Japan
Christine Day - CEO
858 million USD
? CDN$-80.0 million (2006)
lululemon athletica inc. (TSX:LLL, NASDAQ:LULU) (pronounced /?lu?lu??l?m?n/, with the last two syllables pronounced like "lemon") self-described as a yoga-inspired athletic apparel company produces a clothing line and runs international clothing-stores from its company base in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
1 Company history
1.1 Corporate philosophy and practices
2 Lululemon fabrics
2.1 Vitasea fabric controversy
5 External links
Dennis "Chip" Wilson founded lululemon athletica (usually referred to simply as "lululemon", "lulu") in 1998 in response to increased female participation in sports and in accordance with his belief in yoga as the optimal way to maintain athletic excellence into an advanced age. Wilson had previously made a foray into the sportswear business by setting up Westbeach Sports in 1979.
Wilson opened the first lululemon store in the Vancouver neighbourhood of Kitsilano: it included a design-studio/retail-store. It also shared space with a fledgling yoga-studio. As of August 2008, there were 40 lululemon athletica stores across Canada, 38 stores and showrooms in the United States and seven stores and showrooms in Australia. The company continues to expand: it expects to open approximately 60 locations across Canada and the United States over the next[update] two years.
Lululemon has a subsidiary company called OQOQO which focuses on clothing made from sustainable fabrics. OQOQO has a flagship store located in Vancouver and some OQOQO pieces are carried in lululemon stores across Canada and the US.
In 2005, Advent International (partnered with Highland Capital Partners), a U.S. private equity firm, bought a 48% minority interest in lululemon for a reported CAD $225 million, and former Reebok chief executive officer Robert Meers became the new lululemon CEO. Wilson, the founder, now has 42% ownership, with retail-staff owning 10% in stocks and shares. The company formed a partnership with Descente of Japan, to oversee lululemon's Japanese operations. However in mid 2008, lululemon closed its Japanese operations (three stores) to focus on the North American market.
lululemon athletica announced an initial public offering in May 2007 and became a public company on July 27, 2007. Chip Wilson rang the opening bell on the Nasdaq exchange in the United States that day .
The Retail Council of Canada recognized the company as the 2003 Innovative Retailer of the Year in its "small store" classification.
Corporate philosophy and practices
lululemon has its main factory in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In 2004 production expanded outside Canada and currently[update] takes place in factories in the United States, China, Israel, Taiwan, India, Thailand, Peru and Indonesia.
lululemon athletica offers free yoga-classes, health-benefits and growth-opportunities, etc., to its employees. Controversially, the company also pays for management-staff and other employees who have worked for the company for over a year to attend the Landmark Forum.
Unlike fashion-stores, lululemon athletica tends to downplay its role as a clothing-retailer. It refers to its sales-staff as "educators"; to consultative selling as "educating"; and to its garments as "components" to improve personal well-being.
In addition to its promotion of health-consciousness and environmental awareness, lululemon athletica strongly encourages employees to adopt the corporate philosophy, which endorses the Law of Attraction, The Secret (2006 film), and other products or philosophies informed by the 1960s human potential movement.
While lululemon uses a variety of fabrics in its clothing, it offers three "core" fabric types:
Luon, a nylon/lycra blend that has a matte appearance, as opposed to the shine of most nylon/lycra blends. Luon appears in the lululemon's characteristic yoga-pants, and also in jackets and in tops. Some garments feature a lighter-weight luon called "lullure". A selected number of jackets use a "brushed" luon.
Silverescent. The technology aims to add anti-static, anti-bacterial and anti-odour properties to the garment. Silverescent features in a variety of lululemon shirts, tank-tops, and socks....(and so on)
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