Coronavirus has hastened the death of traditional retail, with bankruptcies piling up from struggling companies like J. Crew and J.C. Penney. But a few players are actually thriving during the pandemic: e-commerce giants, big box retailers, and athleisure brands.
Total apparel sales declined 34% from March to July from the year prior, with an even steeper drop in suits and men's formalwear. But sales of sweatpants and sports bras rose during that time, market research firm NPD Group reports.
As more people work from home, leggings and yoga pants are the new business casual, and athleisure brands are reaping the benefits. Athleta, Gap's athletic wear subsidiary, saw sales increase by 6% during its most recent quarter, while Gap's sales fell.
Despite temporary store closures, Lululemon's Facebook 'Were Here' count, the proxy for foot traffic, has grown by 5.94% YTD. That's right, people are masking up and braving the COVID-19 elements to shop at Lululemon.
On Tuesday, Lululemon said that sales increased 2% to $903 million in the quarter ending August 2, compared to the same period last year. Online sales grew 157% last quarter, as the company website's weekly pageviews increased by 14.87%.
But can Lulu and its athleisure counterparts maintain the momentum? How often does one need a new pair of 90-dollar leggings? Lululemon's stock dropped 9.4% on Wednesday. The company said its markdowns were higher last quarter.
Lululemon didn't provide an annual forecast. "The environment remains uncertain," CEO Calvin McDonald said on a call with analysts. "COVID is not yet contained in many of the markets where we operate."
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online, jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings, and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.