Lululemon brings in new chief strategy and digital officer
Lululemon is scheduled to report fourth quarter and full-year 2017 financial results Tuesday as the company continues aiming for a goal of $1 billion in online sales, $1 billion in international sales and $4 billion in total sales by 2020.
Last month, Lululemon parted ways with CEO and Chairman Laurent Potdevin over allegations that he created a toxic work environment, according to Business Insider.
Things have not exactly been stable in the Lululemon executive ranks in recent years. That was the case already back in 2013 when Potdevin was hired to steady the ship. While he steered the athleisure seller onto a growth track, there were a few bumps along the way. During the last year the retailer lost executives such as Chief Digital Officer Miguel Almeida and Executive Vice President and Creative Director Lee Holman.
Even while those executives were leaving and Potdevin's time at the top was growing short, Lululemon still was managing to add new blood. Last year, Julie Averill joined Lululemon as executive vice president and chief technology officer, and Celeste Burgoyne was named vice president of the Americas last month just as Potdevin departed. Richmond is the latest addition.
Adding high-level people even amid an allegedly toxic work environment is a neat trick and might point to the brand's attraction for retail execs, though it remains to be seen how well the current Lululemon executives will fit into the game plan of whoever eventually takes over as CEO.
One interesting thing about all these changes is that Lululemon hasn't faltered in its ability to grow sales. It posted a 14% sales increase for the third quarter last year, and back in January increased its fiscal fourth quarter 2017 revenue guidance based on a strong holiday season. The company also appears to have stuck with the long-term ambition articulated by Potdevin of earning $4 billion total sales by 2020.
We'll find out this week if it nailed that increased guidance, but analysts seem upbeat on Lululemon's ongoing performance and its 2020 revenue goals, according to a Business Insider summary of an Oppenheimer research note last week.
Meeting those 2020 sales goals will put a lot of pressure to produce on all Lululemon executives, and especially on Richmond, who is likely to lead the way in the retailer's adoption of new digital technologies and the furthering of physical-and-digital integration efforts that are consuming so many retailers these days.
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