Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Lululemon users still complain of sheer pants

Company suggests buying larger size to avoid issue

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Retailer Lululemon Athletica Inc. says customers could still be sporting see-through yoga pants because they're buying sizes that are too small for them.

The Vancouver-based company said Wednesday there are still "a few negative comments" circulating on the Internet from shoppers who it believes are buying the wrong size.

The problem may be "guests don't have the benefit of doing an in-store fit session with one of our educators to make sure the fit is right for them," the company said in a FAQ section of its website.

"The majority of feedback about the return of our black luon bottoms has been positive," it noted.

Lululemon says it has made "big changes" to its product-development process since the see-through pants first got attention in March.

But the troubles persist, and that might begin to cause problems for Lululemon's reputation, said Macquarie Capital analyst Liz Dunn, who is a self-proclaimed "heavy user" of the company's products.

"We see a narrow window of opportunity for Lululemon to really fix quality," she said in a note.

"Otherwise, customers may jump ship to competing brands."

Dunn said she's concerned with Lululemon's decision to tell customers to buy bigger sizes or that certain clothes aren't made for sweating in while others aren't made for running. She said not only does that create confusion but it also makes it inconvenient for customers who hurry from one exercise class to the next in the same pants.

"We believe consumers expect to be able to both bend and sweat in Lululemon's premium-priced athletic product," she said.

Dunn also pointed out clothes once manufactured in Canada have now been outsourced to Asia to boost product margins. She acknowledged customers may be paying more attention to product quality after hearing about the recall earlier this year.

Reviews on Lululemon's website have pointed out some of the flaws with the company's relaunch of its pants.

"I was told by a sales associate that after the fabric was changed, most people had to go up a size for the sheerness to go away," wrote DCRunner16.

"Confused that just one size smaller would cause so much trouble with the fabric, I tried an eight. The eight was not only too big, but still sheer when I bent over!"

However, not all of the recent reviews were negative and some customers questioned why so many others were still claiming their pants were see-through.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 12, 2013 B6

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