4 Unusual Features at Lululemon’s New Chicago Flagship

Lululemon has opened its biggest store to date, spanning two levels and more than 20,000 square feet in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. But the expansive space doesn’t house just merchandise — it also boasts a restaurant, meditation rooms and workout studios for yoga and HIIT classes.

On the first floor of 944 W. North Ave, shoppers will find the brand’s range of leggings, sports bras and sweat-wicking shirts as well as accessories including backpacks and products from Lululemon’s newly released personal care line.

The second level is lined with men’s clothing — the largest assortment of menswear among all of the Vancouver-based company’s locations. It is also where customers will be able to test out the brand’s two workout studios and a meditation space, with classes costing $25 each and sold in packages at a discount. In an effort to entice customers, Lululemon is offering free gear for clients to wear during their classes.

Lululemon
Lululemon’s meditation space.
CREDIT: Lululemon

Additionally, the upper wing features a restaurant named “Fuel,” with a selection of power bowls, smoothies, coffee and kombucha as well as beer, wine and cocktails.

Lululemon is also spotlighting local businesses with an area on the ground floor dedicated to a rotating cast of retailers. (The first choice was Chicago-based florist Flowers for Dreams.) Movie screenings and mini-concerts will be held periodically, as the company aims to solidify its place in the community.

Lululemon
Lululemon’s restaurant.
CREDIT: Lululemon

Ahead of its investor day this year, CEO Calvin McDonald and the retailer announced plans to double the revenues of its men’s and online businesses as well as quadruple its international sales by 2023. It also revealed during the meeting with analysts that it intends to open four types of stores: a temporary pop-up, a 3,000-square-foot space; a larger 5,500-square-foot store and the 25,000-square-foot location at Lincoln Park.

“Our physical growth is really fueled by our agile retail concept,” said Celeste Burgoyne, EVP of Lululemon’s Americas division. “I feel really confident that we will continue to have one of the most productive store fleets out there and that our store fleets will continue to be the envy of most retailers.”

The experiential model has increasingly been taken on in the digital age, when companies are throwing more money behind a fusion of retail and entertainment offerings instead of just selling products.

“The stakes are much higher for brick-and-mortar retailers — large and small — today,” said Michael Diamond, The NPD Group’s director of industry analysis for commercial technology. “If you can adjust the purchase decision beyond price to a more positive emotional experience, you have much better odds of attracting people to your shop.”

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