As Lululemon continues to fire on all cylinders, the company is adding another Nike exec to its top ranks.
Blanca Gonzalez will join the fitness company on Feb. 1 as its head merchant, SVP, global merchandising. Gonzalez, who has been at Nike for almost 20 years, will lead global merchandising strategy for Lululemon.
Gonzalez was most recently VP and GM of Nike North America’s Los Angeles/West territory, where she led the Nike and Jordan brand’s key city vision. She helped oversee the opening of the Swoosh’s digital-centric Long Beach location following the success of a Nike Live store on LA’s Melrose avenue.
In her new role at Luluemon, Gonzalez will serve in the role Sun Choe previously held prior to assuming the position of chief product officer.
“Lululemon’s brand is as strong as it has ever been and there’s no better time to join its best-in-class team of merchants,” said Gonzalez. “I’m excited to continue to propel the Lululemon story forward to more guests in more markets as the brand innovates in technical women’s and men’s apparel and accessories.”
The company is rapidly building its executive team as it expands internationally and tackles new product categories, including shoes. It’s no surprise that Lululemon is poaching executives from the world’s biggest athletic company. Last year, it tapped another longtime Nike exec, Nikki Neuburger, as the company’s chief brand officer.
Gonzalez, who will be based in Los Angeles and begin work on Feb. 1, will focus on expanding product and bolstering consumer relationships in the running, training and yoga categories.
“We’re thrilled to have Blanca join and lead our merchandising team with her decades of experience and results in technical apparel,” said Choe. “She brings strong people-first leadership and a global mindset that will allow us to both expand into international markets and continue our trajectory in North America.”
Gonazalez arrives at the brand as it plots a long-awaited expansion into footwear.
In a December conference call with analysts, CEO Calvin McDonald revealed plans to introduce shoes in the back half of 2021, and begin selling them in early 2022. “We’re excited to share our unique point of view and innovation in that category,” he said but did not offer specifics about the product line.
Lululemon continues to be a star performer at a time when many fashion players are struggling.
Just today, it said it expects fourth-quarter earnings and sales to be at the high end of its prior forecast.
The Vancouver-based company — which acquired fitness startup Mirror last year — previously estimated its revenue growth for the period ended Jan. 31 would be in the mid-to-high teens percentages, while adjusted earnings per share were predicted to improve mid-single digits. It now anticipates that both EPS and revenues will be at the higher point of those ranges.