Saks and lululemon reinvent retail to stay top-of-mind amid the pandemic

Thursday, Jan 28, 2021

NRF’s virtual event, Retail’s Big Show, featured fireside chats with two key players in the industry right now – Saks Fifth Avenue and Lululemon.

Executives from both companies shared their efforts to stay top-of-mind in today’s retail landscape, emphasizing the importance of brick and mortar.

“For us, the pandemic has been an accelerant to change, and a key learning experience. One thing we’ve learned is that stores are still important. For luxury, especially, it’s the theater: People want to see the show,” said Marc Metrick, President and Chief Executive Officer at Saks.

Saks has seen store performance results that match closely with their 2019 numbers. The pandemic has served as an opportunity for Saks to reinvent retail. The high-end retailer has managed tio keep two important things in mind – don’t forget the fashion and make it easy for the customer. Being a fashion retailer, staying relevant in the industry is essential. Not only that, but catering directly to the consumer has become even more essential.

“I was surprised by the love our customers have for fashion. In the midst of the pandemic, we were selling things that there was no foreseeable end use for,” Marc said.

On the other side of the spectrum, there has been a clear demand for lounge wear. Lululemon used the pandemic to their advantage by enhancing their omnichannel strategy and inventing an at-home fitness mirror.

“We decided on three basic principles for COVID: supporting our people, leaning into our strengths and investing in the future,” said Celeste Burgoyne, President of Americas and Global Guest Innovation at Lululemon.

Lululemon is known for embracing female leadership, with recently appointing their first woman Chief Financial Officer, Meghan Frank. The company’s senior leadership team is now over 70% women, with overall staffing representing 75% females.

Now is the time for stores to adapt to the ever-changing environment placed in front of them. And this has become necessary to survive. Lululemon recognizes this and is determined envision a new future for brick-and-mortar retail.

“There’s been a real behavior shift over to digital. That won’t go away. At the same time, stores are still really, really important. The question is, how will they change?” Burgoyne said.

Source: Saks and Lululemon – NRF
Photo Credit: Saks and Lululemon – NRF

About Saks Fifth Avenue
As a leading shopping destination for the all-channel luxury experience, Saks Fifth Avenue is renowned for its coveted edit of American and international designer collections as well as its storied history of creating breakthrough, experiential environments. Its exemplary client service has made Saks a global authority in the category, a focus since the brand’s inception in 1924. As part of the HBC brand portfolio, Saks operates in 40 stores across the U.S. and Canada, its online experience―, and its mobile experience―Saks App.

About lululemon athletica inc.
Lululemon athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) is a healthy lifestyle inspired athletic apparel company for yoga, running, training, and most other sweaty pursuits, creating transformational products and experiences which enable people to live a life they love. Setting the bar in technical fabrics and functional designs, lululemon works with yogis and athletes in local communities for continuous research and product feedback. For more information, visit WWW.LULULEMON.COM.

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