lululemon athletica (LULU -3.39%) is hopping aboard one of the hottest trends in retail: the resale apparel trade.
It wants to buy back your used workout clothes and sell them again to someone else. And perhaps to help consumers get over the ick factor of wearing someone else's workout gear, Lululemon is wrapping it in an eco-friendly package by promising to donate the proceeds to environmental initiatives.
Resale, or re-commerce as Lululemon is calling its Like New program, has attracted lots of consumer interest and spawned numerous resellers such as The RealReal, Poshmark, and ThredUp.
Data from market analysts at GlobalData indicate the secondhand clothing market could be a $36 billion industry by 2024 because of its appeal to younger consumers with purported interest in environmental issues.
Like New is one of two environmental initiatives Lululemon announced, the second being its Earth Dye collection, a line of casual clothes that are dyed with the waste of oranges, beets, and saw palmetto trees.
To participate in the Like New program, consumers in California and Texas can trade in their "gently used" clothes at a Lululemon store or by mail in exchange for a gift card. The items are then cleaned and will be offered for sale again through Trove, a company that handles all the back-end operations of "circular shopping" and has partnerships with other brand names such as adidas, Levi Strauss, and Patagonia.
Clothes that can't be salvaged will be recycled through its partnership with rebrand, a reverse logistics outfit.
Like New will launch in May and 100% of the profits or 2% of revenue, whichever is higher, will be "reinvested into additional sustainability initiatives."