Lululemon is buying exercise hardware startup Mirror for half a billion dollars

Lululemon, the company behind trendy fitness apparel, is getting into the hardware business with Mirror. The fitness lifestyle company announced on Monday it would spend $500 million to acquire the startup, which sells a $1,495 reflective display so subscribers can exercise while simultaneously streaming workouts and watching themselves.

The apparel company’s CEO Calvin McDonald tells The New York Times the purchase is about “strengthening our community and our loyalty and our relationship with our guests and memberships.” He also noted that Mirror comes with its own revenue model, which he and the team are “excited about.”

The Times says Mirror expects to bring in over $100 million in revenue this year and to break even or be profitable in 2021. Although McDonald told the paper the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t “trigger” the purchase, the timing doesn’t feel coincidental.

The pandemic brought with it a reckoning for retailers — forcing shops to close their in-person locations for months and leading to widespread unemployment. Lululemon’s net sales dropped 17 percent this past quarter, although its online sales increased 70 percent. Still, one space that’s thriving during the pandemic is at-home fitness solutions. Peloton, for instance, increased its revenue by 66 percent during the last quarter and gained new users through a free 90-day trial offer.

By purchasing Mirror, Lululemon ensures it’ll have income coming in from a separate business while also staying in the fitness space. Instructors could wear Lululemon clothing, too, tying the businesses together and combining hardware, software, and retail.

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