Lululemon Tests Whether Secondhand Apparel Retailing Is Sustainable

Lululemon Athletica is the latest retailer to dip its toes into the secondhand, AKA recommerce or resale, clothing market.

The yoga-inspired chain announced that it is launching a pilot program at participating stores in California and Texas to determine the viability of this new line of business that places sustainability at the heart of its marketing to consumers. The test, dubbed “Like New,” will give owners of Lululemon’s clothing the opportunity to trade in previously purchased merchandise to be resold, recycled or otherwise repurposed by the retailer. Lululemon has pledged that one hundred percent of all profits generated through Like New will go into investments in other sustainability initiatives it pursues.

Lululemon is working with partners to make the pilot successful, including Trove, which will provide resale technology and operations support. Trove works with other consumer-direct brands and retailers, such as Levi Strauss, Patagonia and REI, on their recommerce programs. Items not chosen for resale will be handled by Debrand, a reverse logistics and recycling company based in Canada.

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