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Lululemon wants your used workout clothes

By Parija Kavilanz, CNN Business

Lululemon doesn’t mind if you’ve power walked, danced, stretched or meditated in its clothing. Soon you can trade in your gently used items at any of its US stores.

The athleisure company, known for its pricey leggings and yoga pants, said Tuesday it is expanding the resale program it launched last year in two states to its 394 US stores and online.

Starting April 22, Lululemon shoppers can trade in used items, including pants, tops, shorts, jackets and more, in exchange for an e-gift card as part of the “Lululemon Like New” program.

The retailer said all returned items will be cleaned and evaluated for resale through a partnership with Trove, an industry expert in recommerce. The chain will then offer the approved items for resale on

The value of the gift cards customers receive will vary, depending on the type of item traded in and its condition once it’s approved for resale.

The retailer will offer $5 for tank tops, t-shirts, short and long sleeve shirts and shorts, $10 for hoodies, sweatshirts, sweaters, pants, crops, leggings, dresses, and bags and $25 for Lululemon coats & jackets.

That’s something, and it keeps clothes out of landfills. But for a company that sells shirts for $60 and hoodies for $120, you won’t be getting a huge return on your investment. You may be able to get better offers on other secondhand stores: Used Lululemon clothes go for much higher prices elsewhere.

“Lululemon Like New is just one example of how we’re working towards creating a circular ecosystem and offering ways to extend the life of our product,” said Maureen Erikson, Lululemon’s senior vice president of Global Guest Innovation. “Buying secondhand is no longer a trend, it’s a new normal here to stay — our pilot proved that our community is passionate about participating in recommerce.”

Neil Saunders, retail analyst and managing director at GlobalData Retail, noted that other activewear brands have also jumped into reselling their used products, including Nike, Adidas and Patagonia.

“Resale is ideal for Lululemon as its well-designed, high-quality products are built to last and have a relatively long lifecycle,” Saunders said. “Moreover, when bought new, Lululemon items are expensive so there is a strong demand for slightly cheaper alternatives in the secondhand market.”

One challenge in the resale of sportswear, he noted, is shoppers concerned by the idea that someone has already worn — and sweated — in those garments.

“However, by controlling the process itself rather than selling via third-party platforms,” Sanders said, “Lululemon can overcome some of these objections as the brand has a reputation for high quality, good customer service and reliability.”

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