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See-through yoga pants may cost US high flier Lululemon $20 million

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By Noel Young | Correspondent

March 19, 2013 | 3 min read

A top seller of yoga gear in the US has been forced to withdraw some of its most popular women's pants - because they are see-through. A mistake by a supplier is said to have caused the problem for Lululemon Athletica .

NOT the see-through pants!

The pants, costing around $80, arrived in its stores on March 1. Now customers are being offered refunds, said the Wall Street Journal. Around 17% of the bottoms Lululemon had in stock are thought to be affected.

The company expects to lose sales of around $20 million. and its shares fell a total of 10 per cent yesterday .

The pants use Lululemon's signature fabric, Luon. In a press release the company said,"The ingredients, weight and longevity qualities of the pants remain the same but the coverage does not, resulting in a level of sheerness in some of our women's black Luon bottoms that falls short of our very high standards."

Lululemon has used the same supplier, reported to be a Taiwan company Eclat Textile since 2004 and is working to understand what happened.

Lululemon 's yoga gear reached $1 billion in sales for the first time in the year ended January 2012, said the WSJ, Its market value is near $10 billion.

Lululemon keeps new colours and seasonal items on short life cycles to encourage customers to buy them at full price.

"Our guest knows that there's a limited supply, and it creates these fanatical shoppers," chief executive Christine day Day told the WSJ in an interview last year.

However, In its annual report last March, Lululemon warned that it is exposed to risks from its heavy reliance on a limited number of suppliers. As an example, it pointed to the Luon fabric .

"In the event of a disruption, we may be unable to locate alternative materials suppliers of comparable quality at an acceptable price, or at all," the company said in the filing.

Lululemon said yesterday it's working with suppliers to get new gear in stock as soon as possible but expects a shortage for now.

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