See-through yoga pants, supply chain issues and a lightning rod of a chairman have brought Lululemon a lot of unwanted attention in recent years, but the retail chain is looking to regain its momentum with new leadership, overseas expansion and lines of products that broaden its appeal.
The yoga-inspired chain faces numerous challenges besides overcoming those of its own making. Competition in the activewear market has intensified and Lululemon has sometimes found itself facing rivals that either sell similar goods for less or offer items viewed by consumers to be of higher quality.
Even when the chain apparently gets it right, it has taken hits. Consumers have taken to social media to complain that inventory of Lululemon's new "&go" casual wear was bought up by opportunists who are reselling the items on eBay at a substantial markup. A number of customers took to Lululemon's Facebook page to complain about the lack of availability of items online. A customer named Kristin Montero wrote, "How is it that I get up super early and I still can't buy a product from an email sent out hours earlier? Beyond frustrating Lulu."
The person hired to fix all of Lululemon's past problems is CEO Laurent Potdeven, who came to the chain after serving as president at TOMS Shoes. It appears based on the reactions to "&go" that Mr. Potdeven has some current issues to iron out, as well.
Are you more or less optimistic about Lululemon's prospects today than you were a year ago?