Nike’s Athleisure Dreams Send Lululemon Shares Downward

Jimmy Jazz Harlem N.Y. Nike
The Nike buildout in the Harlem, N.Y., store.
Courtesy of Jimmy Jazz

Nike’s plans to expand into the world of yoga wear could mean trouble for other companies.

At its annual investor day Wednesday, Nike announced plans to tap into the yoga and athleisure market with “pants studios.” As part of that effort, the sportswear giant will put sections of curated yoga and other specialized sports clothing options in 5,000 of its stores by Nov. 1.

“We are No. 1 globally in the bottoms market, but we aren’t satisfied, so we talked with women around the world and heard a common theme … make product by activity,” Nike wrote in documents handed out during the event.

After the news broke, Lululemon’s shares dropped by over 2 percent yesterday (Nike shares rose by 4.2 percent) and recovered partially by this afternoon. A Canadian athletic wear company with 421 stores in North America, Lululemon could face stiff competition as more giant retailers make plans to tap into the world of leggings and running shoes.

Outside a Lululemon store.

Despite the widespread notion that the market is oversaturated with women’s activewear options, giant retailers continue to expand with new lines of sporty clothing tailored to specific activities like yoga or running. Just last week, rumors arose that Amazon was testing a private-label sportswear line with the same fabric company that makes clothes for Lululemon and Under Armour.