Lululemon pulls too-sheer yoga pants off shelves

Lululemon Athletica has yanked a version of its

Lululemon Athletica has yanked a version of its popular Luon black yoga pants from store shelves after it found that the sheer material used was revealing too much of its loyal customers. This store is in Manhattan. (Credit: Marie Claire Andrea, 2009)

Lululemon Athletica has yanked its popular black yoga pants from store shelves and online after it found that the sheer material used was revealing too much of its loyal customers.

The see-through yoga garb is the latest in a series of quality glitches that threatens to alienate the retailer's hard-core fan base, which has so far been more than willing to shell out $100 for pants and other athletic garments. These legions of followers have helped Lululemon, founded in 1998, become a billion-dollar business.

Eva Glettner, 33, of Los Angeles is a case in point. Glettner, who has been a devoted fan of Lululemon, said she'll now shop only at Target to buy her yoga outfits. "You expect a certain quality, and they definitely let me down," Glettner said. "For that price point it's unacceptable." Glettner says Target has similar pants for $30. "It's hard enough making a commitment to working out without worrying about whether you are baring your behind."

Faye Landes, an analyst at Cowen & Co., believes customers reported the problem to store managers, who in turn reported back to management. "If this is indeed the case, we suspect a serious lapse in [the company's] supply chain, quality control and vendor management and specifically in its quality assurance program," she said.

Lululemon's stock price slid $1.82, or 2.76 percent, to close yesterday at $64.08, lobbing more than $250 million off its market value in one day. The stock is down 16 percent so far this year.

Lululemon warned the recall could lead to short supplies and will hurt its first-quarter revenue. The Luon pants are one of the retailer's product staples and account for about 17 percent of all women's pants in its stores. The company is offering full refunds or exchanges. -- AP

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