Vancouver-based athleisure brand Lululemon will be expanding its West Edmonton Mall store in Edmonton this year to make it even larger. The store, which almost doubled in size in 2015 is said to be the top-selling unit for the chain and sales are expected to be even higher following its newest expansion. At the same time, Lululemon will be shutting its street front store on Whyte Avenue in Old Strathcona which saw a renovation almost nine years ago.
The current 6,190 square foot Lululemon store on the second level in Phase II of West Edmonton Mall will expand by taking over retail spaces formerly occupied by Oakley and Arc’teryx, both of which are relocating in the mall. The former Oakley space is 2,347 square feet while the Arc’teryx space is 2,006 square feet according to lease plans, which means that the expanded Lululemon store will be over 10,500 square feet on one level when completed. The expanded Lululemon store will be bookended by a Zara store and a first-in-Canada Kate Spade concept store recently reported on in Retail Insider.
Uniqlo, JD Sports and Apple are located directly across the way with the Ice Palace skating rink being located a short distance away.
In 2015 Retail Insider reported that Lululemon’s then 3,585 square foot store, which then was the top-selling location for the company, would be expanding to over 6,000 square feet by annexing a retail space formerly occupied by Mexx and Oakley. A unique new facade and full renovation of the store was included with the expansion at that time.
Lululemon will be shutting its street-front store at 10558 Whyte Avenue in early July — the store, which has operated for years, saw a full renovation in late 2014 and acted as a community hub to help drive brand awareness. Lululemon will continue to operate stores at Southgate Centre and Kingsway Mall. A temporary Lululemon store opened last week at West Edmonton Mall while the permanent location is expanded and updated.
Recently, Lululemon has been updating its retail portfolio in Canada, including during the pandemic when it was able to negotiate favourable lease terms to expand and build new stores. This has continued with the brand growing several of its existing locations while building new ones, including one of its largest at the northwest corner of Yonge and Bloor Streets in Toronto (opening next year). Larger stores are being used to showcase Lululemon’s expanded product assortment while also adding experiences and community opportunities.
In Canada, Lululemon has over 70 stores across the country. The brand is now expanding globally with strong penetration into the US market as well as countries overseas. Lululemon is facing competition from US-based Alo Yoga which is expanding rapidly in the US and now in Canada, featuring a similar product and price-point, not to mention Montreal-based Lolë which is growing again.
West Edmonton Mall has been adding new retailers in recent months, with leasing activity said to be strong. Existing retailers in some cases are being relocated in order to accommodate new retailers and expansions — one example being the move of Volcom and Kawaii Alley in the mall for the construction of a massive new Nike flagship store. West Edmonton Mall has also been adding luxury retail brands to the mix in recent years, and all are said to be doing very well in terms of sales. That includes Louis Vuitton in 2019, Saint Laurent in late 2020, Gucci in 2021, Balenciaga earlier this year, and at least three more big names are said to be on the way with announcements to follow.
Lululemon’s store facades are unique and often feature sustainable and recycled materials, and it will be intersting to see what is done with the expanded West Edmonton Mall store. We’ll follow up on this story when the expanded store fully opens to the public.