Nation & World

Lululemon to open 'experimental store'

First-of-its-kind venue will have food, yoga, meditation room

Chicago Tribune/TNS

Lululemon plans to open a 20,000-square-foot “experiential store” in July at the corner of North and Sheffield avenues in Chicago’s Lincoln Park area.
Chicago Tribune/TNS Lululemon plans to open a 20,000-square-foot “experiential store” in July at the corner of North and Sheffield avenues in Chicago’s Lincoln Park area.

CHICAGO — Lululemon plans to open a first-of-its-kind flagship store in Chicago, offering food, drinks, yoga classes, a meditation room — and, yes, workout apparel for sale — when it opens in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago in July.

The 20,000-square-foot “experiential store” will become Lululemon’s prototype for big stores offering an array of yoga classes and other activities.

Such flagships eventually could make up 10 percent of the Canadian retailer’s stores, CEO Calvin McDonald said during an April 24 event with retail analysts.

Vancouver-based Lululemon did not specify the location to analysts, according to a transcript of the event, but the Chicago Tribune reported last May that Lululemon was planning a store at 938 W. North Ave.

A construction permit issued by the city at the time indicated the space would include a restaurant and workout space.

A Lululemon spokeswoman declined to comment on plans for the Chicago flagship.

Although Lululemon is best known for women’s yoga apparel, the 21-year-old brand seeks to expand its offerings, including plans to start selling shoes and attract more male customers.

New store formats are part of the company’s attempt to broaden its reach in North America, as well as its push into Europe and Asia.

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Lululemon also is trying new concepts in response to intense competition from rivals offering yoga and workout attire.

By 2023, 10 percent of all Lululemon stores will be “experiential,” such as the one under construction in Chicago, McDonald told analysts, according to a transcript of the event.

There will be two workout studios offering six to 10 classes per day, a meditation area and a “fuel space” selling coffee, juice, smoothies and breakfast bowls, Lululemon executive Celeste Burgoyne told analysts.

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