$800 for Lululemon shorts? The yoga black market

Lululemon athletica host complimentary yoga classes.
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Lululemon athletica host complimentary yoga classes.

It's not often that the price of a pair of running shorts is higher than a yearlong gym membership.

But, thanks to a strict return policy and a bustling resale market, Lululemon fanatics are shelling out more than $800 for a single pair of the brand's running shorts or body-hugging leggings.

According to a recent article by industry publication Racked, eBay is home to pages of listings from resellers who are buying the brand's items, then marking up them up by 1,000 percent. In addition to $800 bottoms, resale items include $250 sports bras and $500 tank tops.

"Lululemon has one of the highest sell-through rates on our site and that data has been consistent," Tracy DiNunzio, CEO of online resale site Tradesy, told Racked.

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The company's stringent return policy is one reason behind the black market activity. It requires purchases to be returned within 14 days, while discounted items are final sale.

Lululemon declined comment to Racked, though a statement on its website says, "We completely recognize that once someone purchases our product they can do what they want with it. We do not, however, support those who acquire large volumes of our product to resell at an elevated price point."

Lululemon, whose sales took a dive following a high-profile recall and controversial comments from the brand's founder, has recently regained favor among analysts. In January, the firm raised its fourth-quarter earnings and same-store sales forecasts, citing strong holiday performance in men's and women's.

Looking ahead, Guggenheim Securities analyst Howard Tubin wrote in a note to investors on Sunday that he has an "optimistic outlook" for the brand's spring merchandise.

"We believe we are starting to see more differentiated merchandise flowing into stores, and we would expect this to continue over the coming months," he wrote.

Lululemon will release its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings results next week.