Amid Retail Downsizing, Store Traffic at These Athletic Giants Is Booming

As widespread store closures and declining foot traffic continue to plague brands, one report has named three sportswear giants among the businesses that have managed to skirt some of the so-called retail apocalypse.

According to analytics platform Placer.ai, Nike, Puma and Lululemon have recorded growth in their overall store traffic despite more shoppers turning to e-commerce and other digital platforms.

In a report released Monday, the Los Altos, Calif.-based firm found that visits to Nike Factory stores in July and August grew a respective 38.5% and 62.6% above its baseline, or the average traffic number for a defined period — in this case, from July 2017 through September this year.

Although Puma’s visits were lower than those at Nike, the German brand’s outlet shops also noted solid summer shopping, with visits rising 54.2% in July and 79.9% in August. Lululemon, on the other hand, saw upticks of 39.9% and 43.9%, respectively.

“Athleticwear is one of the most exciting sectors in apparel, but the tactics being deployed so effectively by giants like Nike, Puma and Lululemon could have massive ramifications across the retail sector,” wrote VP of marketing Ethan Chernofsky. “[Nike, Puma and Lululemon] view physical retail spaces as an ideal way to boost their overall performance and deepen the relationship with their customers. … With these companies turning increasingly towards an owned presence offline, expect other brands to follow.”

All three athleticwear powerhouses have been recently ramping up their brick-and-mortar presences. Following the success of last year’s Nike Live store on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, the Beaverton, Ore.-based brand expanded the concept this month with an outpost in the heart of Long Beach’s Marina neighborhood. It also opened its highly anticipated boutique inside Nordstrom’s New York flagship in late October, and in 2018, it welcomed the sprawling 68,000-square-foot, six-floor House of Innovation 000 in the city.

In August, Puma debuted its North American flagship in New York, on bustling Fifth Avenue and within walking distance of rival Nike’s massive store. Taking up two floors over 18,000 square feet of retail space, the store is stocked with performance and lifestyle products, surrounded by a technology-fueled space that allows consumers to shop in sports engagement zones, look up products via “magic mirrors” with RFID chips and even engage in the NBA2K gaming experience.

And last summer, Lululemon opened its biggest store to date, spanning two levels and more than 20,000 square feet in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. The expansive space doesn’t house merchandise alone; it also includes a restaurant, meditation rooms and workout studios for yoga and classes for high-intensity interval training. In April, the firm revealed plans 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 in Lincoln Park.

Want more?

Nike Opens New Concept Store in Long Beach

Why Puma’s New Store on NYC’s Fifth Avenue Is a Major Statement for the Brand

4 Unusual Features at Lululemon’s New Chicago Flagship

Access exclusive content