For Lululemon, Changes at the Top (in Supply Lines Too?)
There might have been a chance that Lululemon’s decision to return the too-sheer pants it had recalled in March to stores in October as “Second Chance Pants” would be judged a brave (if misguided) attempt to snatch merchandising victory from the jaws of a marketing disaster. (The pants were tagged “This is what celebrating failure looks like!” according to the report from Business Insider.)
Instead, it played as part of what BrandChannel called a “continuing saga of an out-of-touch retailer” – a string of P.R. gaffes that included company founder Chip Wilson’s telling Bloomberg TV that any failure of the brand’s clothing to wear well was due to the size of the women wearing it, not product quality.
Now Lululemon is trying to leave all that behind with some changes at the top: The company just announced that Wilson will step down as chairman. Laurent Potdevin, most recently president of TOMS Shoes, will replace Christine Day (who resigned in June) as CEO.
The new leadership will have to deal with the supply chain problems at the bottom of its product quality issues. As we reported in March (see Lululemon’s Transparent Problem), the yoga apparel retailer, completely dependent on third-party manufacturers under short-term contracts, has vowed to diversify its supply chain.
We also published a list of the top 20 suppliers to Lululemon (and its girls’ label, Ivivva) in 2012 based on our US import bill of lading data. You can compare the 2012 roster of top shippers with the top 20 in the first three quarters of 2013 here:
Note that See Green Industrial, at the top of this ranking by metric tons, supplies yoga mats to Lululemon.
We see few new-comers in 2013: BIHQ Pte. Ltd. and Bodynits International were shippers in 2012 that broke into the top 20 this year. There are, however, two new, non-Asian suppliers that didn’t make the top 20 this year: Delta Galil Industries of Israel and Garment Industries of Peru.
We were interested to check on Eclat Textile, the source for the luon fabric Lululemon initially blamed for its revealing pants. While it appears among the top suppliers of 2012, it didn’t make the 2013 list at all. Then we looked up new-comer E-Top Co. Ltd. (Vietnam), and found that it – along with Eclat Textile Co. Ltd. (Vietnam) from the 2012 list, and Unison (Wuxi) Textile and Garment Inc., which is on both lists – are affiliates of Eclat Textile (100%-owned subsidiary of an indirectly held investment).
We’ll keep tracking Lululemon suppliers. If you’d like to see more about the shippers or consignees in this – or any other cross-border supply chain – contact us.
Date posted: December 10, 2013