Canada's Lolë women's wear expanding, could challenge Lululemon

Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:04pm EST
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* Montreal-based Coalision expanding Lolë concept

* Lululemon faces more competition in women's active wear

By Allison Martell

Nov 23 (Reuters) - A small, privately owned Canadian women's active wear brand is pushing further into the United States, where it could challenge yogawear retailer Lululemon Athletica Inc in its main growth market.

Montreal-based Coalision Inc's Lolë, which has 11 stores in North America and Europe, is planning to open five new locations in 2013, and hopes to hit 50 in the next five years, the company said.

Lolë's only U.S. locations are a temporary, or "pop-up", store in Santa Barbara, California, and one outlet in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan.

"It's too small, so we're going to close it and try to get in somewhere else," Chief Executive Bernard Mariette said on Friday of the Tribeca store, which opened in 2010.

"Now we've proven it's more than working, so we are going to open it in a place where the rent is expensive."

The brand is also distributed through more than 2,000 retail outlets. Last year Coalision's sales were C$85 million, boosted by Lolë, which has grown sales 60 percent in the last two years.   Continued...