Lululemon’s Mega Mall Gym Flagship
Canadian athleisure brand Lululemon’s 20,000 sq ft flagship in Minnesota’s Mall of America, exemplifies the blueprint for next-gen fitness retail, by blending a mini-gym and café with try-before-you-buy shopping. Its activity-first focus is a shrewd strategy for encouraging repeat visits and propelling community-based commerce.
The Minnesota location complements Lululemon’s Chicago flagship in Lincoln Park, opened in July 2019. At both locations, guests can book yoga and HIIT studio classes, then grab a smoothie at the in-store café. They’re also the first Lululemon stores to host events that extend beyond fitness, in an effort to build a local community. Visitors can attend events ranging from movie nights and cocktail happy hours, to concerts and panel discussions on local issues (see also Retail: Leveraging Localism, 2019 and Culture-First Flagships in Brand Spaces, 2019/20).
Echoing the hands-on, luxury-level fitness-retail strategies we explore in Luxury Retail’s Therapeutic Escapism, part of Working the Wellness Dollar, almost one third of the Minnesota location is devoted to studio classes, where shoppers are invited to use and test out the apparel before purchasing. Lululemon’s line of self-care products (launched in June 2019) are also stocked in the locker rooms for customers to trial during post-class clean up.
Visitors can also bypass the retail section entirely via a dedicated studio entrance, allowing the brand to function solely as a gym.
As the wellness industry moves to encompass ever more aspects of daily life – a topic we touch on in 10 Wellness Trends to Watch 2019, including grocery stores partnering with fitness centres – this type of immersive approach to wellness retail stands to become increasingly profitable.
For more on retail clubhouses, see IRDC 2019: Reinforcing Socialised Retail. Also, read International Council of Shopping Centers Summit 2019 for more on how mall components should be reconsidered to accommodate fluctuating attitudes to fitness, health and education.