Lululemon vows to reshape image

 

lululemonCanadian sportswear brand, Lululemon Athletica, has pledged to improve its public image in 2014 following a year of controversy.

“You always hear the phrase is that any PR is good PR, but we learned that that is not always the case,” John Currie, CFO of Lululemon said.

“We get it. We have a great brand and we could be complacent and we could expect the guest and the traffic to come back, but we are not going to be complacent.”It’s incumbent on us to do everything we can to turn the conversation around to more positive again.

“I just want you to hear that we are taking it seriously,” Currie said.

The comments come off the back off the company’s announcement that its fourth quarter results would be lower than expected.

For the fourth quarter, the company now anticipates that net revenue will be in the range of $513 million to $518 million based on comparable-store sales in the negative low to mid single digits on a constant dollar basis. This compares to the company’s previous guidance of net revenue in the range of $535 million to $540 million for the fourth quarter based on flat comparable-store sales on a constant dollar basis.

“We were on track to deliver on our sales and earnings guidance through the month of December; however, since the beginning of January, we have seen traffic and sales trends decelerate meaningfully. Based on this recent performance and assuming these trends continue through the remainder of January, we are reducing our outlook for the fourth quarter,” Currie said.

“As we end 2013, we are starting to see the results of the significant investments we made throughout this past year to strengthen and enhance our back-of-house product operations structure. While we realize that it will require continued investment and time to get to best-in-class status, with our new leadership in place we are very focused on building on this stronger foundation to execute our long term growth strategies.”

The founder of Lululemon Athletica, Chip Wilson, resigned as non-executive chairman in December, after sparking outrage with customers over his controversial comments.

The Canadian sportswear brand appointed Laurent Potdevin as the company’s new CEO and a member of its board of directors, following the resignation of current head, Christine Day.

In November 2013, Wilson came under fire for saying that some women’s bodies “just don’t actually work” for Lululemon pants following complaints from customers over the sheerness of the brand’s yoga pants.

He also said the company does make pants any larger than a size 12 because it costs too much money.

 

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