Lululemon Surges After Third-Quarter Earnings Top Estimates

  • Sales in holiday quarter have ‘improved’ after rocky start
  • Yogawear maker overcoming widespread discounting, slow traffic

Lululemon Athletica Inc. soared the most in more than eight years after third-quarter earnings blew past analysts’ estimates and sales showed signs of strengthening as the yogawear maker heads into the holiday season.

Profit in the quarter was 47 cents a share, excluding some items, the Vancouver-based company said in a statement Wednesday. Analysts estimated 43 cents on average. Sales also beat projections in the period, which ended Oct. 30.

Chief Executive Officer Laurent Potdevin also made bullish remarks about the fourth quarter. Though sales in the period were initially mixed, they have “since improved,” he said.

The results suggest Lululemon is overcoming industrywide discounting and sluggish retail traffic. Potdevin also is working to expand the company’s customer base, helping insulate the chain from fashion swings. The executive has said the chain could eventually get 40 percent of its sales from men, and he’s building Lululemon’s presence overseas.

“Lululemon’s strong top-line results showed that concerns about an athletic slowdown do not apply to them,” Paul Lejuez, an analyst at Citigroup Inc., said in a note to clients. “Concerns in the market about too much clearance online were proven to be overblown/misunderstood.”

The stock jumped as much as 21 percent to $72.70 in New York on Thursday, the biggest intraday increase since October 2008. Lululemon had already gained 14 percent this year through the close of trading Wednesday.

Same-store sales, including direct-to-consumer orders, rose 7 percent last quarter. That beat the average estimate of 5.4 percent, according to Consensus Metrix. Net revenue climbed to $544.4 million, compared with a $540.1 million projection.

The company expects same-store sales to gain by a mid-single-digit percentage in the fourth quarter, when holding currency constant. Revenue will be $765 million to $785 million in the period. Analysts have estimated $786.7 million.

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