Lululemon sales spike amid coronavirus as athleisure trend grows

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Leggings may be a stretch for the office, but in the age of the coronavirus, they're apparently the gift that keeps on giving with fewer Americans commuting into work and seeking out comfortable clothing to wear at home.

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A year of athleisure has proven to bank big for athletic apparel line Lululemon, which reported a whopping $1.1 billion in sales in its third-quarter earnings report Thursday. That’s up 22% from last year.

Lululemon reported $1.1 billion in sales in its third-quarter earnings report. (Ernesto Distefano/Getty Images)

The Canadian retailer saw a spike in sales from consumers ordering online, with direct-to-consumer purchases representing 43% of its sales compared with just 27% a year ago. What's more, sales made online and in brick-and-mortar stores were up 19%.

And ladies are leading the charge when it comes to purchases for the brand, with women's revenue increasing 22% year-over-year, the company told investors on an earnings call Thursday.

Perhaps the spike in sales could be a result of the brand’s mission to become more size-inclusive. The company, which came under fire when its founder and former CEO Chip Wilson in 2013 was accused of publicly body-shaming women – when he suggested yoga pants weren't meant for all  started to sell clothing sizes that go up to 20, it announced in September. The brand expects to have the majority of its women’s line in the inclusive size ranges by 2021.

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"It's a start," the brand announced on Instagram of its new sizes. "Inclusion is a journey, and we know we have work to do. We're committed to launching more inclusive gear every season."


Ahead of Black Friday, the biggest retail holiday of the year, market research firm NPD Group estimated that sweatpants, activewear and sweatshirts would rise to 31% of total U.S. apparel spending this holiday season  a 26% increase from the fourth quarter in 2019.


While Lululemon has been at the helm of luxury leggings, the market has become increasingly competitive as more mainstream retailers like H&M, Urban Outfitters, Gap and Old Navy along with celebrity-backed brands like Kate Hudson’s Fabletics prioritize activewear apparel at a more accessible price point.

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