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5 Lululemon secret saving strategies

Lululemon, everyone’s favorite high-end fitness brand, had a great 2018, according to the company’s earnings reporting Wednesday. The brand beat expectations in revenue and earnings per share, driving its stock up 9%. Same-store sales for the brand rose 16% in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Given that business is booming, you shouldn’t expect to see a surplus of deals from Lululemon. So how can a savvy shopper find savings and still enjoy the popular yoga and athleisure brand? Joanie Demer of The Krazy Coupon Lady has some tips for how to save on when shopping in-store and online.

Looking for markdowns

“When it comes to shopping Lululemon sales, we're not saving 50, 60 or 70%,” Demer says. “Really, 20% is pretty exciting, 30% is really exciting, and by the time you're expecting to see 40% off, you better be at a Lululemon outlet.”

If you’re looking for savings, it’s best to prioritize based on what you can reasonably expect. For instance, the most difficult things to save on at Lululemon are black tights. It’s generally easier to save on tops, accessories or anything that's patterned.

“If you're looking for black tights, maybe don't wait around forever for a sale,” Demer says. “But if you see some sort of floral print that you love, the chances are that item is going to go on sale while they still have some in stock.”

The secret of the ‘charge send’

When shopping sales, there’s an open secret at Lululemon that you can take advantage of: the charge send.

A charge send is basically placing an order over the phone, and this comes in handy if you find a sale item in-store that you want but they don’t have it in your size. You can use the Lululemon app to check availability at any other location in the country, then call that store and purchase it over the phone.

Any Lululemon location will ship you products for free, and you even get the free bag that only comes with in-store purchases that you don't get when you shop online.

When to look for savings online

If you’re looking for the best Lululemon deals online, planning out your week is key. The retailer releases new merchandise online at around 6:15 p.m. EST every Tuesday. And when it comes to new sale items, markdowns are announced every Thursday morning, usually between 10 a.m. EST and 11 a.m. EST.

The main event

By far, the holy grail of Lululemon sales is its warehouse sale, which usually occurs once a year in the spring in a rotating U.S. city. The event attracts tens of thousands of shoppers on the hunt for some of the retailer’s deepest discounts.

“Women are actually planning travel around this sale, that's how big of a deal it is,” Demer says. “It's worth the hype. The savings are over 50%.”

In addition to slashed prices, shoppers can expect more opportunities to save, as the warehouse managers will randomly introduce increased savings to keep the crowds moving through the sale.

“They actually will randomly call, you know, an extra 10% off for anyone who checks out in the next 15 minutes,” Demer says.

If you can’t make it to the sale itself, you can still enjoy the benefits by checking eBay right around when the sale occurs. Despite the fact that Lululemon limits warehouse sale shoppers to 25 items as a means to discourage resellers, there’s still a noticeable increase in new Lululemon gear -- and great prices -- on the auction site around that time.

The employee discount hack

Despite all these great ways to save on Lululemon merchandise, they don’t beat the absolute deepest discount -- the employee discount. Lululemon employees enjoy a markdown of 60%, but to take advantage of that you would need to get a job there. You have to work more than 25 hours a week to qualify, though, so this option is really only for those truly dedicated to maximizing their Lululemon savings.

Or, says Demer: “you know, just make friends with somebody that works there.”

Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter.