Lululemon swap, resale program launches this month

Lululemon will debut an exchange and resale option for its gently used leggings, tops and jackets later this month following a successful pilot program prompted by rising consumer prices and a commitment to sustainable purchasing.

The rollout of Lululemon’s “Like New” program comes after the retailer tested the so-called re-commerce platform for customers in Texas and California, which started in May last year.

Under Like New – powered by resale technology provider Trove – customers will be able to shop with their previously worn Lululemon items in exchange for a gift card at any of the retailer’s US stores. They can also buy from a selection of used items on a separate page on the retailer’s website. More items need to be added each day.

The promotion to resale will help the premium brand in the sportswear sector attract customers looking for deals, according to Maureen Erickson, senior vice president of Global Guest Innovation at Lululemon.

“The guest who buys from Like New … is really skewed younger and is a value-based shopper,” Erickson said in a phone interview.

The nationwide debut is revealed as consumers see higher prices on everything from gas to milk to bread – and to some of their favorite subscription plans, including Amazon Prime. Lululemon said last month that it planned selective price increases to help offset some of the pressure it faced, particularly along its supply chain.

As inflation continues, it may pressure more Americans to hunt for discounts and feel more comfortable buying used clothing.

Shoppers have already warmed up to the idea of ​​buying used clothes and other things, analysts’ estimates show. In 2015, the resale market amounted to about $ 1 billion, based on a tracking from Jefferies. This market was estimated at $ 15 billion in 2021, and it is expected to more than triple to $ 47 billion by 2025.

Erickson added that a number of third-party retail outlets, including ThredUp and Poshmark, are already popping up with gently used Lululemon merchandise.

By launching its own resale platform internally, Lululemon seeks to increase sales and boost repeat customers. And buying second-hand goods from the original retailer, Erickson said, gives customers confidence in the quality and authenticity of the products.

“We have been able to relocate [shoppers] over to our ecosystem, “Erickson said.” What it allows us to do is stay vertical, which is the nature of our business … where we own the relationship with the guests. “

On Lululemon’s Like New website, prior to its official launch date, a used “All Yours” cropped hoodie for women is listed at $ 49, down from its new $ 108 price tag. A used pair of “Strides Ahead” high-rise shorts for women costs $ 39, down from $ 68. And its popular ABC slim fit pants for men cost $ 65 to $ 75 at resale, down from $ 128.

The company said it will not take in and resell certain items such as bras and underwear.

And while the used items will initially only be sold online and not in Lululemon’s stores, Erickson did not rule out the possibility of a brick-and-mortar test of a resale section in the store.

Like New is also seen as a commitment to the environment, with the retailer hoping to reject the visit to the country’s landfills for some of its goods. The company is working towards several sustainability goals, which it set last autumn, including producing 100% of its products with sustainable materials and end-of-use solutions by 2030.

“Every brand is trying to figure out, as they should be, how we can all live into a more sustainable future. It’s going nowhere,” Erickson said. “And that’s a global priority for us.”

Younger shoppers are increasingly taking a step towards sustainable shopping, visiting thrift stores and reinventing garments to reduce consumption. To that end, big-box retailer Target last week confirmed a partnership with ThredUp to list second-hand items for resale as part of their sustainability initiatives.

Lululemon is already seen as doing it right by Generation Z consumers. The brand has just moved up a spot on a list of teens’ top 10 favorite clothing brands in Piper Sandler’s biannual “Taking Stock with Teens” survey.

In the same survey, which took place from February 16 to March 22, 61% of teens, both women and men, reported buying used clothes in the spring, and 56% said they had recently sold their clothes to used marketplaces.

Andy Ruben, Trove’s founder and CEO, calls this year a “watershed” moment for resale.

“Getting more quality for less money has always been in style,” Ruben said in an interview. “And then these things like [higher] gas prices and disruption of the supply chain … all of this favors supply that is already in our cupboards – getting more use out of these goods. ”

Lululemon’s resale page will be launched on Earth Day on April 22.

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