Lululemon’s First Quarter Earnings...Om My God

Ryan Bhandari  |

Shares of Lululemon Athletica, Inc. (LULU) plunged over 15% Thursday to a new 52-week low after posting a 60% decline in first quarter profits and narrowing guidance for the second quarter, adding more doubt to the company’s turnaround efforts.

The yoga apparel company also announced that Chief Financial Officer John Currie plans to retire at the end of the year.

For Q1, net income for the yoga apparel company was $19 million, or 13 cents per share, as compared to a net income of $47.3 million, or 32 cents per share, for the same quarter a year ago. Revenue for the quarter did increase 11.3 percent to $384.6 million from $345.8 million from a year ago.

The increase in net revenue though was coupled with an increase in administrative costs and income tax liability, which contributed to the 59.8% decline in year-over-year profits. Excluding the one-time adjustment, earnings were 34 cents per share, beating analyst expectations of 32 cents per share, according to FactSet Reearch.

Lululemon also reported 1% increase in comparable sales from Q1 2013, but this increase is attributed to a 5% increase in online sales. Retail stores saw a decline in sales of 4%.

Lululemon Still Overcoming Controversy

While Q1 results did beat expectations, Lululemon’s future is marred with obstacles and still trying to distance itself from controversy.

In March 2013, Lululemon had to recall many of its products after customers noticed that parts of their stretchy yoga pants were transparent.

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The infamous recall came with an extra side of bad press for Lululemon when its founder Chip Wilson suggested that his consumers weren’t quite fit enough and therefore stretching the fabric a tad too much. “Frankly some women’s bodies just don’t actually work for (our pants).”

Shockingly, his clientele didn’t agree with his assessment and Lululemon had to recall 17% of its inventory. The recall is estimated to have cost $67 million in potential revenue for Lululemon.

Challenges Facing Lululemon Moving Forward

Lululemon has done their best to put the recall behind them but again, the future presents its own set of obstacles for the clothing manufacturer to overcome. Lululemon certainly enjoyed tremendous success when they first entered this market, but as the rules of a monopolistically competitive market dictate, low barriers to entry with high profits for individual firms will attract new firms to enter the market.

As a result, Gap (GPS) , Under Armour (UA) , VF Corp (VFC) , and other department stores have entered the market and are all pushing their own line of workout gear. Tara Poseley, Lululemon’s new Chief Product Officer, believes that Lululemon failed to offer enough seasonal products in Q1 and relied too heavily on their “core” year-round products.

Lululemon projects Q2 earnings of $0.28 to $0.30 per share. For the full year, they expect earnings of $1.71 to $1.76 per share when accounting for the taxes from repatriation fee. The prior guidance for the full year was $1.80 to $1.90 per share.

Lululemon also revised its revenue forecast to between $1.77 and $1.8 billion. Originally, it was projecting anywhere from $1.77 billion to $1.82 billion.

Analysts forecast revenues of $1.8 billion for the full year and EPS of $1.89. 


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