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Lululemon expanding holiday temporary stores

Lululemon is opening more seasonal pop-ups as its reopened stores continue to attract shoppers. It’s also launched a virtual waitlist to eliminate the lines that often form outside its stores. 

The yoga and athletic apparel retailer said it operated about 50 seasonal stores in the second quarter and that it plans to increase the number to approximately 70 in the second half of the year.

“Our strategy this holiday will include seasonal stores in key centers and markets where we have existing stores to help us mitigate the current capacity constraints,” Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald told analysts on a conference call following the release of its second-quarter earnings.

In some locations, McDonald added, Lululemon may even double up in a mall or a location where it has an existing store to pick up some of the overflow. The chain has also enabled virtual waitlists that notify customers by text when it is their turn to enter a store, so customers no longer have to wait in a line outside.

“This functionality has been particularly well received,” McDonald said. “In the month of August alone, we had nearly 400,000 individual guests utilizing our virtual waitlist across nearly 280 locations where we implemented the technology.

The retailer expects to open 30 to 35 net new stores in 2020, with 15 net new stores opened through the end of the second quarter. 

“We continue to believe physical stores are and always will be an extremely important part of our ecosystem,” McDonald said on the call. “From a sales standpoint, our stores are highly productive, and they enable so much more than simply the purchase of apparel by our guests. Our stores are our local hub and communities across the globe, gathering spots for our ambassadors and our connection to local studios, facilitate e-commerce transactions via our ship-from-store and buy online, pick up in-store capabilities and are a portal to bring new guests into our brand, particularly men.”

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