Nike is unleashing a Lululemon killer in 5,000 stores

NikeNike/NikeWomenNike is launching two big initiatives to appeal to women shoppers.
  • Nike is launching 5,000 women’s-focused “pants studios” in stores.
  • It’s part of Nike’s plan to make a bigger play for the women’s athletic wear market, which is a $US7 billion business, according to the company.
  • The move goes directly at competitor Lululemon’s biggest customer.

Nike is aggressively going after women’s dollars.

With two big initiatives — new “pants studios” and the Nike Sneakers Boutique — Nike hopes it will change the way that women shop for clothing and sneakers.

According to supplemental information released in conjunction with its investor’s day, Nike is also spending more on product development of women’s clothing, focusing on both style and technology. It will also be debuting new head-to-toe outfits next year.

The pants studio includes a dedicated space online and in 5,000 stores for women to shop the range of Nike women’s pants. The studio will arrange pants by activity, making it easier to shop. It will also include pants beyond tights, as well as new styles launched as part of Nike’s rethinking of pants.

Nike says it’s currently the biggest seller of women’s pants, but it hasn’t yet been able to box out brands like Lululemon, which helped create the athleisure leggings-as-pants category. Lululemon posted strong earnings in its most recent report, with revenue up 13% and beating Wall Street’s estimates.

Nike is also rethinking its approach to selling sneakers to women, increasing focus on both its premium and sub-$US100 categories. The company said sales are up 30-50% in its pilot Sneaker Boutiques.

Nike sees an opportunity in women’s apparel. Its growth has come more from women than men recently, a trend that it is hoping to exploit with these new initiatives.

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