Vice President, Merchandise, Planning & Allocation, China

Location: China Mainland

State/Province/City: Shanghai

City: Shanghai

Business Unit: Store Support Centre (SSC)

Description & Requirements

lululemon’s purpose - we elevate human potential by helping people feel their best - is as dynamic as the company’s history and current momentum.

Founded in Vancouver in 1998 with the intent to bring technical athletic fabrics to yoga, lululemon’s first office was a product design studio by day turned yoga studio at night. What was then a very practical solution to paying the rent has ultimately come to define what differentiates lululemon. What has made the company wildly successful has been its steadfast focus on empowering its stores to become community hubs for lululemon’s consumers (Guests) to live the Sweatlife—a combination of sweating, growing and connecting together—as well as participate in lululemon sweaty activities.

Today, lululemon is a publicly traded (LULU) $8.1B global business with more than 30,000+ employees and over 670+ stores across four continents and 25 regions. lululemon’s products include Performance Apparel for women and men (pants, shorts, tops, jackets) for healthy activities such as yoga, running, training, and most other sweaty pursuits, On the Move Apparel (OTM) for women and men (RTW tops, bottoms, outerwear, knits and wovens), Accessories (bags, socks, underwear, yoga mats/equipment, and water bottles), and most recently, footwear.

2022 was an exceptional year from a product newness and innovation standpoint, fueled by the Science of Feel with women’s revenue increasing 30%, men’s growing 22%, and accessories up 70%, versus 2021. Our results were driven by expansion within our core categories with the launch of our Senseknit fabric technology and cold weather run styles, and we grew our Play categories with our golf, tennis, and hike capsules. And while footwear remains a test and learn for us, we’re pleased with our results and are thrilled to bring head-to-toe solutions to our guests.

The power of our brand translated to growth across regions in 2022—North America grew 29% and International increased 35% compared to last year. As the impacts of COVID-19 normalize, we expect our momentum to accelerate, and we are excited for the opportunity in China in 2023 and beyond. In Q4, revenue in China increased over 30% versus the same period last year. We opened 29 new stores in 2022, our largest annual number ever in China Mainland.

In the second quarter of 2023, net revenue increased 18% to $2.2 billion, gross profit increased 32% to $1.2 billion, and earnings per share increased 22% versus last year to $2.68. North American revenue increased by 11% and international by 52% both versus last year. In Q2, we gained 1.3 points of market share with gains in both men’s and women’s. We also opened our first store in Bangkok, Thailand, marketing our 100th store in APAC. At the end of Q2, we have a total of 672 stores, with presence in 25 markets around the world.

Power of Three x2 / Calvin McDonald (CEO), the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and Board remain committed to growth. We recently announced our next five-year growth plan, which builds upon the success of the Power of Three. Our plan calls for doubling our Men’s business while delivering double-digit growth in Women’s, doubling our digital business while also achieving double-digit growth in stores, and quadrupling our International business. And we intend to double our total revenue – from $6.25B to $12.5B – by the end of 2026, with an annual EPS growth greater than sales growth.

Inclusion & Diversity / lululemon has made a series of commitments to ensure the company fully reflects the communities it serves and has established its IDEA team, which stands for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Action. The company stands with employees, ambassadors and guests around the world who have been deeply impacted by the acts of violence, xenophobia and racism. Through commitment from the senior leadership team, dedicated resources, company-wide impact, sustainable HR programs, in-depth reviews and real accountability, the organization is focused on driving positive change in its communities every day.

Impact / In 2021, lululemon advanced an Impact Agenda and multi-year commitments to drive meaningful, positive change in the world, grounded in the belief that everyone has the right to be well and that the wellbeing of people and the planet are deeply interconnected. lululemon made inspiring progress across our three core pillars—Be Human, Be Well, and Be Planet—addressing pressing social and environmental issues that impact our people, communities, and the planet. Highlights from our 2022 Impact Agenda include achieving our goal of having 40% racially diverse representation within our retail stores, we reached 3 million people globally with wellbeing tools and resources which was 3 years ahead of schedule, and we procured 44% preferred materials for our products, a 6% increase year over year.

Product as a Driver of lululemon
lululemon's Product team envisions lululemon to do what we believes no other retailer has done well before: to continue to exceed guest expectations on both the solves and quality of product, as the volume of product designed and distributed grows exponentially and globally. Thoughtful design and a timeless assortment will be critical to ensuring lululemon grows in a way that doesn’t negatively impact quality. From its inception, lululemon has always sought to create clothes that are both functional, and technically beautiful.

lululemon has always prided itself on creating beautifully crafted, high-quality products that both surprise and delight lululemon’s customers (guests), while often also offering innovative apparel solutions. Our Product team has an opportunity to support the continued hyper-growth of our China business, enabling a truly elevated experience for our guests in China, bringing the right products to market and differentiating across each region within China.

The Role
We seek a VP, Merchandise, Planning & Allocation, China to lead our Product team in China. In this role you will inspire a talented team to bring the Design & Merchant vision to life. We take this vision in all its dimensions, bringing the product plan that reflects the needs of our guests in China. As lululemon continues to expand, launching into new categories, products, geographies and on/offline experiences, the role of the Product team is more important than ever.

The ideal candidate will be both a Growth Architect and Collaborator – who will inspire & connect lululemon’s global Product vision to our China market strategy, and vice versa, through elevated relationships within the local team and globally. This leader will connect the product & market strategies that enable our continued hyper-growth in the region.

VP, Merchandise, Planning & Allocation, China

The VP, Merchandise, Planning & Allocation, China will be based in Shanghai.

Reporting + Direct Reports: The role is a direct report into our SVP, Merchandising & Planning, International and will oversee the team of Buying, Planning, Inventory.

Peer Relationships: The VP, Merchandise, Planning & Allocation, China will sit on both the International Merchandising, Planning & Allocation Leadership Team and the China Leadership Team, working closely with all of its members: MD of China, Head of Brand & Community China; Head of Retail China, Head of Store Development China, Buying & Planning leaders across APAC & EMEA).

  • Leads & manages the Product Buying, Planning & Inventory Management & Regional Product Education team in China
  • Creates the Regional (China) Product Merchandise, Planning & Allocation strategy, annual plan & roadmap. Aligns the regional product strategy to the China market strategy and Global product strategy to support China’s growth plan.
  • Provides insights towards the Global Product strategy & Global Line Plan, through a deep understanding of the unmet needs of the region
  • Enables & maximizes Regional Merchandising plan, aligns to the Global Merchandising plan
  • Partners across Brand to align assortments that bring stories to life.
  • Ensures the Region (China) has relevant & required Product assortment, in the right place at the right time, to meet the Regional Guest needs & enable the accelerate Growth plan of the Region. Align the needs in China with our global assortment to meet and enhance the guest experience
  • Strategic analysis & interpretation of market trends through retail analysis, statistical tools, marketplace and industry analysis and development.
  • Builds strong cross functional relationships both in Region and Globally to support the needs of the product assortment within region.

The VP, Product, China will not be responsible for, but will actively partner with those who oversee:
  • Product Design
  • Global Merchandising
  • Supply Chain & Product Development
  • Product Innovation
  • Brand + Community / Marketing
  • Retail / Visual Merchandising
YEAR ONE DELIVERABLES Desired achievements in first 12-months in the role. (in priority)
Onboard Thoughtfully. Listen + Learn from lululemon’s culture. Build relationships within Brand + Community, Retail, Global Product and with cross-functional partners. Understand the why behind our current operations to inform our future. Within the first 12 months you will be an integral member of the China leadership team, bringing a voice from the region into our global product team & strategy.

Align our Regional Product Strategy to our China Market Strategy. You and your team feel clear on the vision towards an elevated product strategy that connects directly to the needs of the market. This vision will put the Guest at the heart of everything we do, continuing to offer both the product they know & want, while also continuing to surprise & delight.

Second, Build & Execute a Roadmap that enables the Vision. In strong partnership with our Global Product team and Regional China Leadership team, build the Roadmap that enables execution of the Vision. Find the points that are working well and those that are missing or need evolution. Partner to define evolutions required and inspire the team to charge forward.

Streamline Operational Complexities that supports our continued hyper-growth. Leaning into a holistic experience that provide a best-in-class product.

Team Structure & Evolution. The team will have a clear understanding of goals & responsibilities, as well as where we connect & partner Globally, Regionally, and cross-functionally. Support the members of the team to help remove roadblocks. Encapsulates future-forward strategic investments in tools & resources against growth & scale milestones.

A Deep Understanding of Product functions. You have meaningful experience in leading a Product function in an apparel environment. This includes expertise in understanding consumer trends & insights, enabling a global product strategy in market and managing the supply chain environment specific to the region.

Expert in Mainland China Region. You are an expert in product within Mainland China. You know the guest behaviors and needs unique to the market & are able to leverage this expertise to build & execute a product strategy that would elevate lululemon’s connection to our Guest. An additional benefit would be if you speak Mandarin.

Demonstrated Ability to Succeed in Matrixed and/or Global Environments. You have been successful in environments that required influence & collaboration as a means to move the business forward. You understand the importance of connection and consistent communication with your key partners and stakeholders around the globe. This connection has been a meaningful part of your success.

Who Wins With Others. You are skilled at building relationships. You have a high EQ, are approachable, authentic, willing to take the lead when necessary, but also want others in the limelight. You connect with your team, internal & external stakeholders naturally. You build trust through building trust and rolling up your sleeves when the team needs it. You are a natural coach and mentor who is committed to the growth of your team. You have successfully overseen a team of 10+ FTEs.