NEW YORK (AP) - Lululemon said Wednesday that no demonstrations are needed to return black Luon yoga pants that the company pulled from shelves last week after finding that they were too sheer.
"We do not require guests to demonstrate the sheerness of their bottoms," Sari Martin, a Lululemon spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed response to a query.
The Vancouver-based yoga gear maker's statement comes a day after a New York Post report widely circulated by the media recounted one woman's tale of being asked by sales staff to bend over to prove that the pants she was trying to return were sheer.
"The sales associate then perused my butt in the dim lighting of the change room and deemed them 'not sheer,' " the woman, Christina Phillips of Toronto, told the Post.
Martin would not comment on the specific instance recounted by the Post, but said Wednesday that this is not standard policy for Lululemon. To the contrary, she said people who bought the black "Luon" yoga pants, which cost $72 to $98, since March 1, either online or in store, can return them for a full refund, "no questions asked."
The hubbub comes a week after Lululemon said it was recalling the pants, which account for about 17% of all women's pants in its stores, because their material was too sheer. The pants are made from a combination of nylon and Lycra fibers.
The company still hasn't determined the cause of the problem. And officials have declined to say when the items would be back in its stores. But the company has added more stringent controls and is diversifying its suppliers to make sure it doesn't happen again.
The flap is a blemish for a company that has been a superstar in the athletic world. Lululemon has grown to 211 stores, including 135 stores in the U.S. and 51 in Canada, as its yoga and other workout clothing has gained popularity with men and women. Its devoted fans helped Lululemon, founded in 1998, become a $1.4 billion business.
But the pants snafu isn't the only quality issue the chain has had. It also has had sheerness problems with swimsuits and light-colored pants.
Lululemon stock (LULU) is well off its 52-week high of $81.09. It was trading around $62 a share Wednesday.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Howard Tubin said while the sheer pants are an "odd" situation, it's just a growing pain for the rapidly expanding company.
"They tried to get in front of this by not letting the merchandise satay on store shelves and they're working with vendors to try to figure out how this happened," he said. "They're probably handling it the best way they can."
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