Retail Stalker

How's this for a site selection strategy: just follow your closest competitor wherever they open new stores?

A story published by Bloomberg claims that's exactly what Gap Inc. has been doing with its sports apparel-oriented Athleta stores. The company waits until popular Canadian retailer Lululemon opens a store in a new U.S. mall, then leases a location nearby.

“Athleta is opening stores close to Lulu locations so I'd say they're turning into the biggest threat,” said Paul Lejuez, an analyst at Nomura Securities International Inc. in New York. “Gap looks at what Lulu has established and says, ‘Well, why not play off the traffic they attract and if we offer our product at a slightly lower price, we'll get share.'”

Well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

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