For many brick and mortar retailers, there comes a time when stores need a facelift to best represent the brand. While this can require weeks or months of downtime in the stores, the sacrifice is often worthwhile to modernize the space and give shoppers the best experience possible. Lululemon recently hit this crossroads with its flagship location in Vancouver, B.C. The store had not been remodeled since opening in 2014. The store also took over an adjacent retail space in 2019, creating a disjointed floor plan.
In March 2022, the flagship closed for renovations, opening a temporary pop-up store 2 minutes away during construction. In early August the newly remodeled flagship store reopened. How did the closure impact store footfall during the renovations? And has the store seen recovered foot traffic since reopening the flagship store? Near pulled human movement data around the 2 locations – the flagship and the temporary pop-up – to understand the patterns. We defined 3 time periods to compare:
November 1, 2021 - March 20, 2022
During Remodel (Temporary Location at 1088 Robson St.):
March 24 - August 7, 2022
After Reopening (Flagship at 970 Robson St.):
August 8 - September 19, 2022
Lululemon saw a store traffic drop of 53% at the temporary location during the remodel compared to the flagship. Since the flagship reopened in August, visitors have somewhat recovered, but not to their pre-remodel levels – visitors are still 31% down from before the renovations.
Flagship Store Footfall vs. Before the Remodel
Similar patterns are reflected in the distance people travelled to the Lululemon location. Before the renovations, visitors travelled a median distance of 13km from their homes to the location. During the remodel that dropped 41% to 7.7km, and then rebounded a bit to 9.6km since the reopening.
Median Distance Travelled to Store (km)
Demographics of visitors to the store stayed about the same before, during and after the remodel, with the most represented age group being 30-44, with 1 in 4 visitors in that age group, and 15% of visitors categorized as “High Earning Urban Professionals.”
Any time a store closes temporarily, there is a risk of losing customer visits and loyalty in that area. Ideally, the retailer more than makes up for those short-term losses in the long term, with improved store layouts and better alignment with the brand. When making these big decisions around store upgrades, data can provide guidance around potential lost sales to expect, temporary site locations, and more.