Canada’s Lululemon Athletica opens tech centre in Bengaluru | Bengaluru News – Times of India
Lululemon Athletica is the second prominent Canadian apparel brand to come to India for tech
BENGALURU: Canadian athletic apparel company Lululemon Athletica has established a tech hub in Bengaluru, its first outside of North America. The idea is to step up its digital offerings and omnichannel experience.
Lululemon Athletica is the second prominent Canadian apparel brand to come to India for tech. Hudson’s Bay Company, which owns Saks Fifth Avenue, set up a centre in Bengaluru a few years ago. Lululemon is expected to hire about 250 technologists for the centre by 2022. Its CTO Julie Averill said India provides a compelling talent proposition.
“All of our strategies are underpinned by technology – product innovation, omnichannel guest experiences or international market. We believe that India allows an opportunity for a very long term strategic investment and to find top talent that will be a part of a different kind of brand. India will provide us with capabilities and access to talent that we don’t have today,” she told TOI in an exclusive interaction.
A number of global retailers, most prominently Walmart, Target, Tesco and Lowe’s, have centres in India that are helping digitise operations and building technology platforms to provide insights and improve customer experience. This has become imperative given the pace at which online players like Amazon have grown.
Founded by Chip Wilson in Vancouver in Canada in 1998, Lululemon is a yoga-inspired, technical athletic apparel company. It started as a design studio by day and yoga studio by night and soon became a standalone store in 2000 in Vancouver. It clocked an 11% increase in net revenue to $4.4 billion in 2020 over the previous year. Last year, it acquired home fitness startup Mirror for $500 million.
Calvin McDonald, CEO of Lululemon Athletica said, “The opening of our India technology hub will help further our strategic growth plan with technology, enabling both our people and our guest experience as we expand to serve new guests across the globe.”
The Bengaluru centre will work in areas like data science, machine learning, and full-stack cloud engineering to support merchandise planning, product and location information management. “We want to set up a data science lab In India that serves the rest of the world. The core of Lululemon is product innovation, merchandising, forecasting, and data science is embedded in all. We are one of the few vertical retailers—we own everything from fabric and design to supply chain. We have a very unique proposition called the science of feel – how is the feel of your fabric. We are innovating at every level of our integrated business and that’s why we are coming to India,” said Vaidyanathan Seshan, vice president of international technology and head of India Technology Hub.
Lalit Ahuja, CEO of ANSR, a consulting firm that has helped set up tech centres in India for a number of global brands, including Lululemon, said retailers are turning to India’s tech talent to support digital transformation, provide enhanced omnichannel experience, AI and cognitive competencies. “Cloud and analytics are the key imperatives,” he said.