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Lululemon Athletica inc. (LULU)’s Next Challenge

It’s been a month since Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) CEO Christine Day announced that she will leave the company, and stakeholders are still waiting with bated breath to hear who her replacement will be. During her five years at the helm, Day has been nothing short of a corporate rock star by any conventional metric. Shares of the apparel chain increased 600% from the start of her tenure to her departure announcement, while sales and profits have grown exponentially as well. The retailer has become one of the most admired and imitated on the planet, ranking No. 3 in U.S. sales per square foot last year , behind only Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF), which sell much pricier wares.

But despite those successes, a backlash has formed in recent months among Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU)’s most devoted customers. Carolyn Beauchesne, who writes the blog Lululemon Addict, has been calling for Day’s resignation for some time now, a demand that reached a fever pitch during Lululemon’s pants recall earlier this year. Among Beauchesne’s complaints have been a deterioration in the fabric quality, and changes in popular designs and unique fits, which she blames on Day’s leadership and the company’s going public.

Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU)Though it may be tempting to dismiss the quips of a blogger, Beauchesne, who’s spent an estimated $15,000 on Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) gear, has become quite an authority on the company. Her site is well read among Lululemon shoppers, and some of the company’s own employees have even used it as a resource. Her posts receive as many as 100 comments from readers who also think Day’s strategy has alienated its customer base.

Beauchesne ended her earlier broadside against Day by calling for “a new CEO, with a commitment to quality, who has experience in the apparel industry and an eye for style.” Notably, Day was plucked from Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX), while the company’s founder, Chip Wilson, had started several clothing companies beforehand.

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