NEW YORK, N.Y. – Just a few months after Lululemon Athletica pulled yoga pants from shelves because they were too sheer, costing the company millions in sales, it’s fielding new complaints about quality.
The Canadian company had blamed the problems from spring on a style change and production issues.
New yoga pants have since made their way into stores, but there are recent complaints on the Lululemon Facebook page and its website about pants that are still too sheer. There are also complaints about pants pilling after a few months of wear — or even just a few uses — and about holes and seams coming apart.
The fresh batch of problems could alienate the retailer’s legion of hardcore fans who have been willing to shell out $100 or more for yoga pants. These followers helped Lululemon, founded in 1998, ring up $1.4 billion in sales last year.
Lululemon is trying to put the see-through yoga pants snafu behind it. It’s looking for a new CEO after its current chief executive, Christine Day, said in June she was planning to leave. On Thursday, it announced it had hired a new chief product officer, bringing in a Kmart leader to fill a role that had been left vacant.
“Lululemon will certain face new challenges if the pilling and seam problems are real,” said Sterne Agee analyst Sam Poser in a research note.
One complaint from Lululemon’s website on Oct. 10, about the company’s Astro pants, read: “I bought these pants on September 25, two weeks ago. Have worn them once for yoga, once for walking, and once for weights/cardio. Have washed them once hung to dry. They are already showing pilling in the thigh area.”
Another, from Oct. 30, about a Wunder Under pant: “Very disappointed that these are STILL SHEER.”
Lululemon is responding to some complaints, telling customers to get in touch with the company or visit their local store. It said in a statement Friday, it that it had heard from a “very small number” of customers complaining about pilling.
The company said its information indicates that pilling “is not a widespread concern and this guest feedback is not indicative of a larger issue.”
Shares of Lululemon Athletica Inc. closed down $1.24, or 1.8 per cent, to $67.85 Friday, off 11 per cent in 2013.
AP Retail Writer Anne D’Innocenzio contributed to this report.