Lululemon Tops Estimates, but Outlook Not as Bright

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Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 results before markets opened Wednesday. For the quarter, the yoga gear maker reported diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.85 on revenues of $704.3 million, compared with diluted EPS of $0.78 on revenues of $602.5 million in the same period a year ago. The consensus estimates called for EPS of $0.80 on revenues of $693.38 million.

For the full year, Lululemon posted adjusted EPS of $1.86, which excludes certain tax benefits. On a GAAP basis, EPS came in at $1.89, compared with $1.66 in 2014. Full-year revenues totaled $2.1 billion, compared with $1.8 billion a year ago. Analysts were looking for EPS of $1.82 and revenues of $2.05 billion.

Total comparable sales for the quarter, including direct sales to consumers, increased by 11% year over year on a constant dollar basis. Same-store sales rose 5% and direct to consumer sales rose 33%, also on a constant dollar basis. Direct to consumer sales now make up 20.8% of Lululemon’s total sales, up from 19% in the same period last year.

In mid-January the company raised its revenue guidance to a new range of $690 million to $695 million for the quarter. EPS guidance was also increased to $0.78 to $0.80. At the time, CEO Laurent Potdevin said Lululemon had a “very successful holiday season,” and he was right.

Gross profit for the quarter slipped from 51.5% in the year-ago quarter to 50.3%, although the dollar value rose by 14%.

The company guided first-quarter diluted EPS in the range of $0.28 to $0.30 on revenues of $483 million to $488 million. Consensus estimates called for EPS of $0.37 on revenues of $485.22 million. In the year-ago quarter, Lululemon posted EPS of $0.34 on sales of $423.54 million.

For the 2016 fiscal year, the company expects diluted EPS of $2.05 to $2.15 and revenues in a range of $2.285 billion to $2.335 billion. Analysts have estimated EPS of $2.15 and revenues of $2.33 billion.

During fiscal 2015, the company repurchased 5 million shares of common stock at an average cost of $55.27 per share.

Potdevin said:

In 2015, we made bold moves across the organization, elevating design and innovation and developing our infrastructure to position us for the future. As I look forward to 2016 and beyond, I am excited and confident that we have the right team in place to execute on our long term strategies.

If it weren’t for the light guidance, Lululemon stock would really be soaring in this morning’s premarket session. Even with the dimmer outlook, though, shares are up nicely and that could be due to how much better the company in the fourth quarter, even after raising its guidance. In other words, Lululemon could be underpromising while expecting to overdeliver.

Lululemon’s shares traded up about 5.7% in Wednesday’s premarket session, at $64.75 in a 52-week range of $43.14 to $70.00. The consensus price target before the report was $61.03, and the high target was $76.00.