Lululemon Athletica Inc. posted further gains in sales and profit to close out its latest fiscal year, showcasing the apparel company’s continued resilience during a time when surging coronavirus cases shifted more consumer spending online.
The company reported $1.7 billion in net revenue for the quarter ended Jan. 31, a 24% rise from the same period a year earlier. More than half of net revenue came from selling directly to consumers, compared with 33% in the fourth quarter of 2019. Comparable sales — which typically include stores open at least a year and e-commerce — increased 21%, fueled by online sales.
Last quarter, Lululemon executives expressed uncertainty about the holiday season, as elevated Covid-19 cases led governments across the country to reimpose constraints on bricks-and-mortar stores. Both full-year and quarterly results surpassed the company’s expectations, Chief Executive Calvin McDonald said on a conference call with analysts on Tuesday.
“Last year was another good reminder of the strength of our core product assortment,” he said. “People will always want to sweat and stay active.”
Mr. McDonald said Lululemon will continue its push to attract male customers in 2021 with new products, including shorts with abrasion-resistant fabric.
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Women’s apparel continues to be the strongest performing category for Lululemon, which reported that part of the business grew nearly 20% last year, while the men’s category expanded 17% in 2020.
The growth in online sales helped offset weakness in stores. Comparable bricks-and-mortar sales slumped 28% in the latest quarter. Store productivity also fell, to 72% of pre-pandemic levels.
Net income for the quarter rose 11% to $330 million.
Lululemon reported earnings per share of $2.52, beating analysts’ expectations of $2.49, according to FactSet.
Mirror, the at-home fitness company Lululemon acquired for $500 million in June, generated $170 million in revenue in 2020, a figure that includes results from before the acquisition.
Lululemon issued full-year guidance for net revenue between $5.55 billion and $5.65 billion, and earnings per share between $6.10 and $6.25. The retailer said it expects net revenue between $1.1 billion and $1.13 billion for the first quarter of 2021.
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