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Lululemon CEO: 'We have very low brand awareness with men,' but that business will double by 2023

Key Points
  • Lululemon still has some work to do to win men over with its jogger pants and sweat-proof shirts.
  • The athletic apparel retailer, famous for its sports bras and leggings, says many guys still don't know "Lululemon can be a brand for them."
  • Lululemon wants to double its men's sales by 2023, meaning revenues in that category will eclipse $1 billion annually.
Calvin McDonald speaks onstage during Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on October 4, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.
Matt Winkelmeyer | Getty Images

Lululemon, known for its sports bras and yoga pants for women, still has some work to do to win men over.

"We have very low brand awareness with men," CEO Calvin McDonald told analysts during a meeting in New York on Wednesday. "The opportunity isn't just to be known," he said, "but also being understood" as a brand that men — not just women — can shop.

At the end of last year, only about 21% of Lululemon's business was coming from men's, with 70% stemming from women's. Lululemon recently signed a deal with former Eagles quarterback Nick Foles to become its first men's ambassador, as it makes strides to raise awareness among male consumers.

With bigger ambitions to rival the likes of Nike, Adidas and Under Armour, Lululemon is targeting a doubling of its men's sales by 2023, meaning revenues in that category will eclipse $1 billion annually.

Chief Product Officer Sun Choe told analysts men have reacted exceptionally well to Lululemon's "commuter" products — items like jogger pants that are designed to be worn around town to run errands, but also can be dressed up in an office setting. And so she said there will be a lot more of that on shelves this year and next, while Lululemon is also "taking cues from streetwear trends happening out there" as it designs new clothing.

"Guys don't know Lululemon can be a brand for them," Choe said. "But we have a ton of newness in the pipeline."

Nike, bringing in $36.4 billion in sales in 2018, holds 18.3 percent of the overall U.S. sportswear market, which includes apparel and footwear, according to data compiled by Euromonitor. Adidas is second with 6 percent, Under Armour with 4.1 percent, Skechers with 2.6 percent and Lululemon with 1.9 percent as of the end of 2018, according to the firm.

Lululemon also on Wednesday said it soon plans to start making its own footwear, as it laid out a five-year growth plan with the goal of growing total sales annually by a low-teens percentage rate.

"Lululemon put out exciting targets and ones focused on new and existing categories alike," Nomura Instinet analyst Simeon Siegel said.

Lululemon shares were up Wednesday afternoon less than 1%. The stock has soared more than 80% over the past 12 months.