Lululemon: Shunning Plus-Size Customers as Business Practice?

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Lululemon Athletica showcases different sizes of its popular yoga pants in such a way that deliberately shuns bigger customers, a new report suggests.

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Most merchandise is presented out on the floor, hung on the walls, or folded neatly in cabinets for all the world to see, the Huffington Post reports.

But the largest sizes - the 10s and the 12s - are merely relegated to a separate area at the back of the store, left clumped and unfolded under a table.

Moreover, the only styles of yoga pants even available in those sizes were older Lululemon designs whose fashion moment had long since passed.

These larger offerings were also rarely restocked, said Elizabeth Licorish, who worked at Lululemon for four months before leaving the store in 2011.

"All the other merchandise was kind of sacred, but these were thrown in a heap," Licorish said. "It was definitely discriminatory to those who wear larger sizes."

Far from an accident, the exiling of larger clothing by Lululemon is a central piece of the company's strategy to market its brand to the stylishly fitness-conscious.

Insiders say this treatment of larger clothes and customers reflects the culture Lululemon represents - promoting skinniness as a paramount feature of health.

Lululemon declined to comment on this report, but this mode of image maintenance determines what lands on shelves at many major retail outlets, experts say.

A dearth of plus-size products reinforces an implicit message that larger Americans have absorbed for years: Shop only at retailers that welcome your "type."

Plus-size women between the ages of 30 and 45 are supposed to buy at Lane Bryant, not Lululemon see-through yoga pants, or so the marketing goes.

The definition of plus-size varies, with PLUS Model Magazine setting the break-off point at size 12, while the New York Times puts it at size 14.

The average dress size for U.S. women is 14, according to Women's Wear Daily.

In recent months, brands have drawn criticism for messages that seem to reinforce their labels as status symbols for the young, white and classically attractive.

Abercrombie & Fitch's CEO in particular took heat for an interview in which he essentially admitted that he wants his clothes and stores to be exclusionary.

Lululemon may at first seem an unlikely member of such ranks, but insiders say it has made it clear that it's not interested in attracting plus-size shoppers.

At the store where Licorish worked, she grew accustomed to plus-size shoppers entering and quickly leaving, having deduced that this was not their place.

"There was sort of a grumpy response to people unfamiliar with the brand ... moms would come in with their daughters, look around and say, ‘Clearly I can't shop here.'"

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Why would anyone want to but that crap anyway. The company gets there stuff made in China where it costs them pennies to make and sells here for hundreds of dollars. Who's laughing to the bank???? All those kind of stores need to be boycotted.

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Every company has the right to decide what sizes they wany to display, if you don't like it go to another store.

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screw them...i don't shop there anyway, & now for sure never will.....

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Let's face it, This world is going to hell in a fendi bag!" The powers that be are going to make things so impossible for regular people. That we regular folks aren't gonna be able to find anything decent to wear or eat. This world is royally fucked....

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Is this abnormal in most stores that cost a little more? Seriously... I'm not trying to be mean or anything, but most stores that cost even a little bit more than average have a "Big & Tall" section that is in a smaller section by itself somewhere. Often clothes are heaped around because of the big & tall people themselves poking all through them looking for the right sizes and slumping them back down... Places like Walmart that are filled with dumptruck sized customers have nice fat person sections but most stores have a smaller section because these heavier people are a smaller part of their customer base. And as mentioned they're usually more messy because the large customers end up messing the areas up themselves constantly so they're hard to keep up as nice. Priority has to be made to the majority of the customer base and fixing up the other parts of the store first...

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What about the other side. I am genetically thin, and recently had cancer. I am 5'6" and weigh 100lbs. ( it sickens me when people tell me how "lucky" I am, and oh, how they wish they had My problem).
Thirty- even twenty years ago, at this exact height and weight, I was a solid size 4. Now a Zero is too big. Designers have changed sizing in order to keep the masses happy. (You don't believe me? Go to a vintage store. Try on a pair of pants circa 1975.) So, all that being said, forgive me if I don't have sympathy for someone who is crying about where clothes are placed, or how they're folded. Boo. Hoo. At least you can find clothes. And, if history is an indicator, pretty soon all you 14/16/18+ girls will be appeased by designers, and will soon be size 8/10/12 anyway. Before the kind-hearted suggestions start, petites are too big in the hips,too short in the leg. Girls are too small in the hips, too short in the leg. The only skirts I can find that fit in the waist are in the Jr Dept. I am in my fifties. A little too old to be showing my crotch to the world)

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I've even to lululemon numerous times and I wear a size 12. I didn't see any of the "larger" sized clothing left unfolded and clumped. An employee helped me pick a few out from the shelves and they were folded under the smaller sizes. Someone mentioned that they maybe can't sell enough units of these sizes... Oh no, believe me they do. You can also sometimes see on the clearance rack items that are in the size 2-8 range. 10 and above not as likely.

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Do they own Abercrombie and Fitch, too?

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@ Gramma2KT

Great question.

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I actually would have less of a problem if they just posted on the door that they only sell sizes through 8, rather than embarrass people who go there to shop and are told to go out back and rummage through the unfolded "large" sizes. Years ago they had a store called 5, 7, 9 - because they only sold those sizes. At least you knew what you were getting and where not to shop if you weren't one of those sizes.

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Stories like this make me so depressed. When I was younger, I weighed 125 pounds and the smallest size I could wear was a 14. I am 5"5'. I have very wide hips and large breasts like the rest of the women in my family. I am now 55 years old, and after having babies my hips are even wider and I wear a size 18. I work out at least three times a week and really watch what I eat. It is an everyday fight for me not to gain weight. There are a lot more women like me out there, and it is very hurtful to be ignored this way. I have a lot of money and buying power. I do go into Lululemon with my daughter. Luckily for her, she takes after my husband's side of the family with normal size hips even though her breast size is more like mine. She is a size 8 and also exercises all the time. She too has a hard time finding clothes. It bothers me that people like us are judged so quickly. Women today feel bad about themselves if they were not born with bodies that fit today's requirements. My doctor tells me I am perfectly healthy and I should just keep working out. What I am trying to say is, no one should be so quick to judge others on their figures. It's a shallow world we live in for sure.

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@ Sue

Not trying to be mean but we truly don't need to know your daughter's breast size....or yours either.

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@ Kellie

Not to be mean....why did you even comment Kellie?

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