Lululemon shares soar as earnings, sales top expectations

Shares of Lululemon Athletica jumped more than 7 percent in after-hours trading Thursday after the athletic apparel retailer reported second-quarter earnings and sales that topped analysts’ expectations, boosted by e-commerce sales growth of nearly 50 percent.

The company also raised its profit and sales outlook for the full year.

This earnings report is the first for new CEO Calvin McDonald, who joined Lululemon from LVMH’s Sephora makeup business. McDonald replaced Laurent Potdevin, who resigned earlier this year after falling “short of [Lululemon’s] standards of conduct,” the company said at the time.

On a call with analysts and investors Thursday afternoon, McDonald said Lululemon will continue to expand its men’s business and outerwear category, which includes more big-ticket items. The push into men’s is expected to be a big growth driver for Lululemon moving forward, according to industry analysts.

For female shoppers, Lululemon spearheaded a movement toward “athleisure” apparel in the U.S. and has maintained a loyal base of customers for its leggings and yoga gear.

Lululemon continues to see strong traffic at its stores in North America, a market where brands like Nike and Under Armour have been struggling to keep growing of late, hurt by the bankruptcies of Sports Authority and other wholesalers in the U.S. Lululemon also has an aggressive expansion strategy to take its business global, with a heavy emphasis on China.

Net income for the quarter ended July 29 was $95.8 million, or 71 cents per share, compared with $48.7 million, or 36 cents a share, a year ago. Excluding one-time items, Lululemon earned 71 cents a share, while analysts were calling for earnings of 49 cents per share, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.

Revenue rose to $723.5 million from $581 million a year ago, again ahead of the $668 million expected by analysts.

Sales at Lululemon stores open for at least 12 months were up a staggering 20 percent during the quarter. Analysts were forecasting same-store sales growth of 9.6 percent.

The company said some of its strongest categories were women’s and men’s pants, thanks to new, versatile fabrics that encourage customers to wear those items at work, at the gym and out at dinner. It said its accessories business — for merchandise like water bottles and gym bags — was the strongest in five years.

Looking to the full year, Lululemon now expects to earn between $3.45 and $3.53 a share, compared with a prior range of between $3.10 and $3.18 per share. It said revenue should fall between $3.19 billion and $3.24 billion, up from a prior targeted range of between $3.04 billion and $3.08 billion.

For the third and current quarter, Lululemon is calling for revenue of as much as $730 million, earning between 65 and 67 cents per share.

Lululemon is “clearly taking share from traditional athletic players such as [Under Armour] by having more fashionable quality lifestyle apparel,” B.Riley FBR analyst Susan Anderson told CNBC.

As of Thursday’s market close, Lululemon shares are up about 74 percent so far this year, bringing the retailer’s market cap to about $18.6 billion.

— CNBC’s
Courtney Reagan
contributed to this reporting.

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