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Lululemon Trading Update Disappoints Investors

The athleticwear forecast sales growth in the high teens for the period ending January 31, in line with earlier guidance, but some analysts were expecting a bigger boost.
Lululemon campaign. Courtesy.

Yogawear maker Lululemon Athletica Inc. revised its guidance for the current quarter but failed to impress investors who expected better.

The Vancouver-based company said Monday it sees sales growth in the high teens for the period ending January 31, at the high end of its December 10 guidance. Growth in adjusted diluted earnings per share will “be at the high end of its mid-single digits expectation,” the company said.

That wasn’t enough to some investors, who’ve become used to Lululemon beating expectations. The shares dropped in premarket trading and were down 0.5 percent to $356.46 as of 9:35 a.m. in New York.

“We’re pleased with the momentum over the holiday period,” chief executive Calvin McDonald said in the statement ahead of the 2021 ICR online conference that Lululemon executives are attending this week. “We remain confident about our opportunities in 2021.”

Some analysts were expecting a bigger boost. Paul Trussell, from Deutsche Bank, said last week he was anticipating a new sales forecast in the low-20 percent range.

So did Jim Duffy at Stifel, who in a January 5 note said that low-20s growth would be the “positive/negative break point on share reaction.”

The company took an early hit from the coronavirus when it was forced to temporarily close stores in China last February. But Lululemon, which is known for its yoga pants and exercise outfits, benefited from the rush to casual clothes during the pandemic as millions began working from home.

But virus-related restrictions and a second wave of closures in some regions have hurt productivity at its brick-and-mortar stores, which a boom in e-commerce only partly made up for.

By Sandrine Rastello

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