By Aisha Al-Muslim
Lululemon Athletica Inc. raised its outlook for the current fiscal year after the athletic-apparel company said growth from online purchases and sales of its core leggings and joggers boosted results in the latest period.
Net revenue in the Vancouver company's first quarter rose 20% from a year ago to $782.3 million, above the consensus forecast from analysts of $756 million. Online sales increased 33%, representing nearly 27% of total quarterly revenue.
Comparable-store sales, or sales at locations open at least a year, increased 6%. The company ended the quarter with 455 stores.
"Lululemon continues to see strong momentum across the entire business," Chief Executive Calvin McDonald said.
The company recorded a profit of $96.6 million, or 74 cents a share, up from $75.2 million, or 55 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts polled by FactSet were looking for 71 cents a share.
For the full year, Lululemon said Wednesday it expects net revenue of $3.73 billion to $3.77 billion, compared with its prior outlook of $3.7 billion to $3.74 billion. It also forecast earnings per share of $4.51 to $4.58 for the year, versus its previous guidance of $4.48 to $4.55.
For the current quarter, Lululemon projected revenue of $825 million to $835 million, compared with analysts' estimates of $835 million. The company also expects total comparable sales to increase by a low-double-digit-percentage on a constant-dollar basis. The company forecast earnings per share of 86 cents to 88 cents, compared with analysts' estimates of 88 cents a share.
Lululemon's stock rose 4.5% to $178.50 in after-hours trading Wednesday. Shares are up about 37% in the last 12 months.
In April, the apparel maker's new CEO, Mr. McDonald, told The Wall Street Journal that the brand, which became known for convincing women to pay $100 for yoga pants, has no plans to lower its prices, even though the market is now flooded with cheaper alternatives and copycat products.
Mr. McDonald said at the time that Lululemon plans to introduce new products from deodorant to sneakers. He also said he wants to push the brand into international markets like Europe and China.
Lululemon's gross profit margin improved in the latest quarter, helped in part by fewer markdowns, finance chief Patrick Guido told analysts on a conference call.
As part of the company's five-year plan, Lululemon is looking to double the revenue of its men's and digital businesses and quadruple its international sales.
In terms of new products, the company plans to introduce new tank tops and T-shirts for men that have anti-odor technology, are lightweight and have strategic venting, Mr. McDonald told analysts. For women, the company plans to offer two more high-support bra styles in the coming months, he said.
Lululemon executives said the company is seeing momentum across its international markets. Operating chief Stuart Haselden said the company remains on track to open 10 to 15 stores in China this year, and it expects to post strong growth in the country this year.
Write to Aisha Al-Muslim at firstname.lastname@example.org