Lululemon to pilot ‘Like New’ clothing test
Lululemon Athletica is the latest retailer to dip its toes into the secondhand, AKA recommerce or resale, clothing market.
The yoga-inspired chain announced that it is launching a pilot program at participating stores in California and Texas to determine the viability of this new line of business that places sustainability at the heart of its marketing to consumers. The test, dubbed “Like New,” will give owners of lululemon’s clothing the opportunity to trade in previously purchased merchandise to be resold, recycled or otherwise repurposed by the retailer. Lululemon has pledged that one hundred percent of all profits generated through Like New will go into investments in other sustainability initiatives it pursues.
The trade-in phase of the program will kick off next month with lululemon beginning to sell traded-in items online in June. The retailer has said that it will only resell “like new” items. The chain will clean all the merchandise it collects, offering for purchase only those items that meet its quality standards and recycling the rest. The chain has said that it will analyze customer response and feedback before it seeks to scale the pilot up or to incorporate it into its standard business model.
Lululemon is working with partners to make the pilot successful, including Trove, which will provide resale technology and operations support. Trove works with other consumer-direct brands and retailers, such as Levi Strauss, Patagonia and REI, on their recommerce programs. Items not chosen for resale will be handled by Debrand, a reverse logistics and recycling company based in Canada.
The lululemon test program will put the retailer in the same space as a growing number of businesses that are taking similar approaches. Nike announced last week the launch of Nike Refurbished, a program that enables sneaker owners to return their shoes within 60 days of purchase for resale. The items selected are cleaned and sold to customers at a discount to buying the same shoes brand new. Nike is initially offering Refurbished shoes for sale in 15 stores before it further expands later this year and in the future.
Levi Strauss opened its LevisSecond online store last year. The effort supports the company’s sustainability and profit initiatives as it reduces consumption and environmental waste and creates a consumer-direct revenue stream for the brand.
- Lululemon Delivers On Its Impact Agenda Commitments With Two New Sustainability Initiatives Launching In May – Lululemon Athletica Inc.
- We work with the most innovative luxury and premium brands – Trove
- Retail & Apparel – Debrand
- Nike decides to ‘just do it’ in the sneaker resale market – RetailWire
- Will Levi’s Secondhand store give the brand a sustainable advantage? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you expect lululemon’s “Like New” pilot program to prove successful for the retailer? What do you see as the short and longer term implications for apparel retailers and brands actively pursuing the secondhand market opportunity?