Lululemon accused of ‘bullying’ rival Rhone out of NYC mall and refuses to re-sign lease

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Lululemon is accused of ‘bullying’ rival Rhone from NYC mall and refuses to re-sign their lease if men’s fitness brand were allowed to stay

  • A source familiar with the Rhone’s closure on March 21 at Brookfield Place said bad blood around both stores and their lease renewals led to the decision.
  • Both brands were ready for lease renewals, but Lululemon wouldn’t re-sign if Brookfield allowed Rhone to stay, a source said
  • A Rhône representative said the brand left the mall last month and opened its new 1,500 m2 flagship at 133 Fifth Ave. in the Flatiron District.
  • “Rhone contacted Lululemon to try and make nice, but they didn’t want to talk,” added the source. ‘I think they feel threatened’

Rhone, a men’s fitness apparel brand, closed its pop-up store in downtown New York City over ‘bullying’ from rival brand Lululemon, it is said.

A source familiar with the March 21 closure at Brookfield Place said bad blood around both stores and their mall lease renewals led to the decision for Rhone to pack their bags.

Lululemon said, “It’s them or us,” said the source, the New York Post reports. ‘They were p ***** off. Both brands were ready for lease renewals, but Lululemon wouldn’t re-sign if Brookfield allowed Rhone to stay. They bullied them out of the mall. ‘

A Rhône representative said the brand left the mall last month and opened its new 1,500-square-foot flagship at 133 Fifth Ave. in the Flatiron District in Manhattan.

A source familiar with the March 21 closure at Brookfield Place said bad blood around both stores and their mall lease renewals led to the decision for Rhone to pack their bags.

A source familiar with the March 21 closure at Brookfield Place said bad blood around both stores and their mall lease renewals led to the decision for Rhone to pack their bags.

Lululemon said, 'It's them or us,' the source said.  'They were p ***** off.  Both brands were ready for lease renewals, but Lululemon wouldn't re-sign if Brookfield allowed Rhone to stay.  They bullied them out of the mall '

Lululemon said, 'It's them or us,' the source said.  'They were p ***** off.  Both brands were ready for lease renewals, but Lululemon wouldn't re-sign if Brookfield allowed Rhone to stay.  They bullied them out of the mall '

Lululemon said, ‘It’s them or us,’ the source said. ‘They were p ***** off. Both brands were ready for lease renewals, but Lululemon wouldn’t re-sign if Brookfield allowed Rhone to stay. They bullied them out of the mall ‘

The representative would not provide further insight into the nature of the departure, or whether it was alleged ‘bullying’.

“Rhone contacted Lululemon to try and make nice, but they didn’t want to talk,” added the source. “I think they feel threatened.”

According to another source, both brands are looking to expand their physical footprint, with Lululemon currently in talks to renegotiate the lease and expand the Brookfield Place location.

But retail experts are still nervous about the catty behavior between the two brands.

A Rhône representative said the brand left the mall last month and opened its new 1,500 m2 flagship at 133 Fifth Ave.  in the Flatiron District in Manhattan.

A Rhône representative said the brand left the mall last month and opened its new 1,500 m2 flagship at 133 Fifth Ave.  in the Flatiron District in Manhattan.

A Rhône representative said the brand left the mall last month and opened its new 1,500 m2 flagship at 133 Fifth Ave. in the Flatiron District in Manhattan.

“When a Chinese restaurant opens in a mall, they want a non-competitor so they are the only Chinese restaurants,” said James Famularo, president of retail leasing at Meridian Capital Group.

But clothing is a fairly broad category and companies often thrive on competition. Just look at the Diamond District on 47th Street. ‘

Famularo said the behavior would have been more common before malls went on the defensive, as brands went out of business and more shoppers shift to online.

“Why would you bully someone else in this environment?” he asked. “If you could survive all this, you’d think you’d be a little kinder.”

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