Lululemon forecasts better-than-expected sales as digital business accelerates

Lululemon forecasts better-than-expected sales as digital business accelerates

Pedestrians wearing protective masks walk past a Lululemon store in San Francisco, California, on Monday, March 29, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Lululemon on Tuesday reported revenue and profit for the fiscal fourth quarter that topped analysts’ estimates, boosted by the athletic apparel maker’s online business, and double-digit sales growth in both its women’s and men’s divisions.

It offered an upbeat outlook for sales during the current quarter and for the year, anticipating consumer demand for its sweat-wicking leggings and sports bras will continue. The retailer has been a huge pandemic beneficiary, with many people stuck at home gravitating toward workout clothing as everyday wear.

The company’s shares dropped more than 1% in after-hours trading, having risen more than 60% over the past 12 months. Lululemon cautioned that a potential resurgence of Covid cases could hurt its business, despite its forecast for revenue growth.

Here’s how Lululemon did during the quarter ended Jan. 31 compared with what analysts were expecting, based on a poll by Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: $2.58 adjusted vs. $2.49 expected
  • Revenue: $1.73 billion vs. $1.66 billion expected

Lululemon reported net income of $329.8 million, or $2.52 per share, compared with net income of $298 million, or $2.28 per share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, the company earned $2.58 per share, better than the $2.49 expected by analysts.

Its revenue spiked roughly 24% to $1.73 billion from $1.4 billion a year earlier. That topped expectations for $1.66 billion.

Its online sales surged 92%, as many consumers preferred staying put at home and shopping from the comfort of the sofa during the Covid pandemic. Women’s sales were up 19%, and men’s grew 17% during the quarter, the company said.

In North America, revenue grew 21%, while international sales rose 47%.

Direct-to-consumer sales nearly doubled, and represented 52% of total sales in the quarter, compared with 33% of sales during the year-ago period, it said.

“We are still in the early innings of our growth, fueled by exciting innovations,” CEO Calvin McDonald said in a statement.

Lululemon now expects first-quarter revenue to be in a range of $1.10 billion to $1.13 billion, compared with analysts’ average estimate of $999.5 million, according to Refinitiv.

For fiscal 2021, the company is calling for revenue to be in a range of $5.55 billion to $5.65 billion, compared with analysts’ average estimate of $5.42 billion.

It cautioned, however, that further resurgences in Covid-19, including from variants, could cause additional restrictions that could suppress shopper demand as well as lead to supply chain disruption.

For now, the company said it remains on track to reach the targets it previously charted to hit by 2023, including doubling its men’s and online sales, and quadrupling international revenues.

Lululemon also now owns at-home fitness equipment maker Mirror, which offers another source of revenue growth beyond the pants, tops and workout accessories that it sells.

It said it plans to ramp up investments in the start-up, which generated $170 million in revenue in 2020, including results from before Lululemon’s $500 million acquisition.

Lululemon’s shares are down about 8% year to date, as of Tuesday’s market close. The company has a market cap of $41.3 billion.

Find the press release from Lululemon here.