Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Lululemon Site Crashes, Dealing Blow to Brand After Web Push

Updated on
  • E-commerce site comes back online after going down on Monday
  • Yogawear company has been working to improve performance

Lululemon Athletica Inc.’s website suffered a lengthy outage on Monday and Tuesday, dealing a blow to the yoga brand’s efforts to draw more online shoppers.

The company’s North American site crashed after a power failure and other problems at a server farm, according to a person familiar with the situation. The site is now back online after being down for less than 24 hours, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t being shared publicly.

Laurent Vasilescu, a Macquarie analyst in New York, said he first observed that the e-commerce site wasn’t working on Monday afternoon. The Vancouver-based company counts on direct-to-consumer sales for about 17 percent of its revenue, Vasilescu estimates.

For hours, the website presented an error message that said, “We are usually awesome at this. Please don’t refresh your browser. You’ll be back in the flow shortly.”

The outage represents a setback for a brand that’s been working on its online performance. Lululemon has expanded its e-commerce product selection, and Chief Operating Officer Stuart Haselden said in March that the company was taking “aggressive actions” to improve the site.

“Our initial reads indicate these efforts are gaining traction,” he said on a conference call at the time.

A website malfunction can take a significant toll on same-store sales, also known as “comps,” Vasilescu said. A three-day outage would have cost Lululemon a penny in earnings per share, he said.

“Another way to think about it is that every day the website is down, the company’s total company comp for that day is likely down double-digits,” he said.

(Updates with reason for outage in second paragraph.)
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