March 19, 2013— -- The ubiquitous black workout pants with the horseshoe-like symbol might be a little harder to spot in the coming weeks.
Lululemon said Monday a problem in the manufacturing of its popular black Luon pants has led to "sheerness." That led the company to pull about 17 percent of the pants from stores, showrooms and the website.
Lululemon said it expects "for the near term there will be a shortage of these styles available to our guests."
The company has yet to identify the cause of the problem, saying it has used the same manufacturer and materials since 2004.
"We regret any inconvenience this has caused for our guests," Lululemon CEO Christine Day said. "It is always our first priority to protect the quality of our fabrics that keep our guest so loyal to our products. We will accept nothing less than the very highest quality we are known for."
Customers who purchased a defective product can return it for a full refund or exchange.
In an interview earlier this year with ABC News, Amanda Casgar, area community manager for the brand, explained what makes Lululemon pants so popular. "It's four-way stretch, moisture wicking," she said. "Every seam is flat, and we put a gusset in the crotch to avoid camel toe."
The brand started as one store in Vancouver, Canada. Today it boasts 175 stores in the United States and many more worldwide.
The company ranked fourth among the most profitable stores in the United States, according to research company RetailSails. Who beat Lululemon? You might have heard of them: Coach, Tiffany and Apple. Sales for Lululemon were $1,800 per square foot as of November 2012.
But Lululemon expects the pants shortage will lead to a financial loss of as much as $17 million in expected revenue. In its fourth-quarter earnings report, the company reported a net revenue increase of 51.4 percent to $371.5 million, from $245.4 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2010.