Lululemon shows limit of yoga market

Inside a Lululemon store. Yoga is still growing, and affluent devotees are willing to pay higher prices for the brand.

David Brancaccio: Ok, take a deep breath, deep into your abdomen, hold it now, release. It's time for the Marketplace Morning Report's yoga profit update. Seriously, Lululemon, which sells high-end yoga-and-fitness clothes, reports quarterly results this morning. The company-based in Vancouver, Canada-is expected to keep up brisk sales gains at its 150 or so stores in North America. And why is this business sprinting while so much of the rest of the economy's limping?

Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman reports.


Mitchell Hartman: Chalk some of this up to the yoga craze -- studios popping up everywhere, videos online.

Yoga video: Hello and welcome to "Balance your Life with Yoga."

Since the recession started, participation in yoga has doubled to more than 20 million. That’s partly people trying to chill out in hard economic times.

John Horan of Sporting Goods Intelligence says, it’s also a middle-aged women’s thing.

John Horan: If a woman’s 25, she still might be running a lot. When she’s 45, she might be looking for another way to stay fit.

Horan says Lululemon’s grabbed the same customer who’s shopping at, say, Nordstrom -- affluent, and not likely to balk at $95 yoga pants. Especially if they hold up, and make her look good outside the gym.

Horan: They have people working in the stores who really believe that because they’ve got a great flat-seam bra, they’re making the world a better place.

Competitors like Gap and Lady Foot Locker are going after the women’s fitness market as well -- with lower prices than Lululemon.

I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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