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Published: Saturday, 7/6/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Athletic wear shop to open in Perrysburg

Vancouver’s Lululemon is hot, but faces lawsuit over defect

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
A Lululemon Athletica shop, shown in South Miami, is part of a Canadian chain that is to open a store on Louisiana Avenue in downtown Perrysburg next month. The company, which is traded on Nasdaq, suffered over a large recall of black yoga pants that were unintentionally see-through. A Lululemon Athletica shop, shown in South Miami, is part of a Canadian chain that is to open a store on Louisiana Avenue in downtown Perrysburg next month. The company, which is traded on Nasdaq, suffered over a large recall of black yoga pants that were unintentionally see-through.
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A trendy Canadian athletic wear retailer recently in the news for an apparel misfire is coming to Perrysburg.

Lululemon Athletica of Vancouver, a retailer whose products were initially designed for Yoga but which has branched out to include a variety of stylish athletic wear for women and men, has contracted to open a store in the former Scoots infant apparel shop at 206 Louisiana Ave.

Rick Ruffner, the landlord, said the company has tentatively set a store opening date of Aug. 1.

Jennifer Darga, a marketing official for Lululemon who has been involved in the Perrysburg property, could not be reached for comment. However, Mr. Ruffner confirmed that the retailer has committed to the location.

Mark Zyndorf, a commercial real estate agent with the Toledo office of Signature Associates, said Lululemon is a hot brand and that getting a store in Perrysburg is a bit of a retailing coup.

“It’s well-made and very fashionable and very popular apparel. You go to any of the other big cities, Chicago or New York, or places like Palm Springs, and it’s the ‘in’ thing,” Mr. Zyndorf said. “My wife and I went to the store in Palm Springs and that store was so busy that when new merchandise came in and my wife tried to pick something out, she was told it was already sold out.”

Perrysburg is home to the Levis Commons shopping center, which boasts several upscale retailers. The shopping complex would seem to be a natural fit for an international retailer like Lululemon, but Mr. Zyndorf said downtown Perrysburg makes more sense.

“I’m actually surprised that they’re coming at all. It’s pricey [apparel], but I think they picked the right place to be,” he said. “They will probably be paying half the price for the space downtown that they would pay at Levis Commons. Plus, it says a lot about them where they’re locating the store, that they really want to be in the heart of Perrysburg.”

Founded in 1998 in Vancouver, the company with a stylized letter “A” — it looks like the Greek letter omega — on its apparel had been on a meteoric rise of late with 218 stores as of the end of April. Its stock, which is traded on Nasdaq, was at $81 a share in May.

However, in March, Lululemon had a large recall of its black yoga pants that were unintentionally see-through. The recall, which amounted to about 17 percent of all women’s pants sold in its stores, was believed to have had a significant impact on the firm’s financial results. Sheree Waters, the company’s chief product officer, resigned in April over the issue.

Last week, investors filed a class action lawsuit against Lululemon Athletica for allegedly making “false and misleading statements” to conceal the company’s costs, estimated at $12 million to $17 million, associated with its see-through yoga pants problem. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, sought to recover investors’ damages from a 17 percent stock price plunge that occurred June 10, when the company announced its first-quarter results and Chief Executive Christine Day left the company.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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