Lululemon Athletica (LULU) allegedly had investors betting against them earlier this fall but on Thursday they again proved them wrong with its third quarter earnings report.
For the quarter, the company saw an 18% rise in its same-store sales with the exclusion of the currency translations. This compared to a 5.4% average increase for apparel retailers in the same quarter, according to Retail Metrics.
Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) also reported its online and other direct-to-consumer sales jumped 89%. Total profit increased 48% to $57.3 million (39 cents per share), while sales rose 37% to $316.5 million; these exceeded analysts’ estimates.
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For the fourth quarter, the company was cautious in its guidance. The company has forecast comparable-store sales to rise in the high-single-digits and foresees a 71 cents to 73 cents per share profit; both missed analysts’ forecasts.
In Thursday afternoon trading, Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU)’s shares increased 6.8%; this represented a 57% increase in 2012. The stock was also apparel’s most actively traded stock for the day.
Analyst Jennifer Black, said to The Wall Street Journal, “This company has the world ahead of them. It has the product, the ambience and the employees.”
Other analysts gave their thumbs-up to the company on Thursday with Wedbush reiterating its “Outperform” rating and a 12-month price target of $85 while Bank of America Merrill Lynch retained its “Underperform” rating on fourth quarter concerns.
Also contributing to Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU)’s good numbers has been the growing marketplace for yoga and other athletic clothes from the rising competition of The Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) Athleta division, Limited Brands, Inc. (NYSE:LTD) SX, V.F. Corporation (NYSE:VFC) Lucy, and NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE).
Citing NPD Group, total athletic apparel sales increased around 10% to more than $31 billion in the year ended September, with a 7.5% rise in women’s to $14 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Another interesting aspect in Lululemon’s success has been its expansion sans using the sales rack for its $52 yoga tank tops and $88 running shirts.
The company will look to grow through international markets. In the quarterly earnings conference call on Thursday, Chief Executive Christine Day said, “We intend to go deeper in showrooms in Europe and Asia over the next 24 months, and we will begin pre-seeding activities in up to 15 countries over the next two years. We are confident that this same approach in the international markets, along with the intelligence that we gained through our country and region specific websites, will allow us to create the optimal mix of bricks-and-mortars and e-com for these markets.”
The David Einhorn Effect
Meanwhile, earlier this fall, market watchers were expecting something to happen to Lululemon’s shares but nothing did.
On Oct. 2, shares jumped over 5% from their intraday low. The media speculated that hedge-fund manager David Einhorn would show he had done a short sale. This was not the case but also not the first time questions surrounded a possible stock rise prior to an infamous Einhorn mention.
This was thought to also be the case for Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:LTD) that jumped 8.9% on May 16.
We have previously written about this and will continue to keep our eyes on stocks that may have fallen under the David Einhorn effect.