Goldman Sachs added Lululemon Athletica Inc. to its list of top picks for investors two weeks ago, pushing up the price of the Vancouver-based retailer’s stock by five per cent. In two years of market turmoil, Lululemon’s stock has been a rare standout. Worth just $15 in January 2010, it is now trading at over $53. “They are such a unique company,” says David Ian Gray, a retail strategist at DIG360 Consulting. “And they know their audience.” Gray believes Lululemon, much like Nike, has found a loyal group of consumers willing to pay for quality and social status. Gray thinks it is also benefiting from a global shift toward “athletic lifestyle higher-end branding,” and thinks the company will continue to thrive because it takes seriously its values of health, wellness, and personal empowerment.
Lululemon’s success has been a boon for investors, not least for founder Dennis “Chip” Wilson, who still owns 31.5 per cent of the company. The Goldman endorsement comes as Wilson was identified by the Vancouver Sun as the owner of the city’s most expensive home. According to BC Assessment rolls, Wilson’s mansion—overlooking the ocean and mountains of West Vancouver—is worth $37.2 million. All thanks to pricey yoga pants.