Lululemon Athletica is getting hammered in the press and on social media after
Business Insider broke the story last Thursday that the company is still selling apparel with apparent quality issues.
Lululemon did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on the story last week, but when the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and the Associated Press picked it up, a spokeswoman responded saying that the quality complaints, specifically regarding pilling, were only from a “very small number of guests.”
“The information we have tells us that [pilling] is not a widespread concern and this guest feedback is not indicative of a larger issue,” spokeswoman Alecia Pullman said in an e-mailed statement.
Meanwhile customers took to the company’s Facebook page over the weekend and added a heap of new complaints.
“PLEASE stop the sheerness,” Cathy B. wrote Saturday. “Just tried on 3 styles of pants at my local Lulu and none of them passed the bend-over test.”
On Sunday, Jean L. wrote, “Just put on my In the Flow crops for the 4th time only to notice the seams unravelling at the crotch… #unattractive. What’s up Lulu?”
Laura B. said she bought a pair of Wunder Under pants three weeks ago. “I haven’t even washed my Wunder Unders yet, and they are pilling! And today one of the seams started unravelling,” she said.
“I seriously cannot believe how you can sell the garbage you are in store for the price you do,” wrote Tracy R.. “Can you really not see the downward spiral you are in?!!”
Some customers have begun suggesting other fitness apparel brands to one another. Christine D., who claimed she is invested in Lululemon, said she now wears Under Armour. Tiffany T. suggested Nike and Zella.
Carolyn Bauchesne, author of the blog Lululemon Addict, said she has not noticed an uptick in complaints about pilling. “But I definitely agree some of the coloured bottoms and some of the lux bottoms are still on the sheer side, particularly when you bend over,” she wrote on her blog Sunday.
“The big thing about [Lululemon] is that their quality used to be so much better and then they pretty much threw it down the toilet for a good year and a half to two years. They let stuff slip to horrible levels, got called on the carpet for it, and, I think, are starting to recover,” she added. “The media attention and competition from other brands will hopefully help keep their feet to the fire.”
Morningstar analyst Jaime Katz said Lululemon will be able to weather the storm because it has such a passionate following of fans that aren’t ready to give up on the company.
But company executives must respond quickly to improve quality control, she added.
“They’re trading one problem for another,” Katz said. “Eventually it starts chomping away at brand equity and that can impair the brand longer-term.”
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