Lululemon Athletica remains in strong growth mode, although it's moderating slightly. Its results for its second fiscal quarter, ended on Nov. 3, remained impressive, exceeding the management's guidance and sending the stock up by $3.50 to $233 for a total valuation of $30.5 billion.
Net earnings jumped by 33.0 percent to $125.9 million, while revenues surged by 23 percent to $916.1 million. On a constant-dollar basis, revenues were also up by 23 percent. On a comparable basis, the company's sales went up by as much as 16 percent in U.S. dollars and by 17 percent in local currencies, with comparable store sales rising in dollar terms by 10 percent and direct-to-consumer revenues over the internet soaring by 29 percent. On a currency-neutral basis, they were up by 10 percent and 30 percent, respectively.
The management is seeing strong results from its big new experiential stores, making it believe that they could represent about 10 percent of its sales in the future. In the latest quarter, it launched its new format in Chicago, where it saw about one-third of its members take sweat classes offered in the store. On Nov. 20, it opened its second experiential store at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.
The management said it enhanced its digital shopping experience in several ways during this quarter, including launching new product display pages both online and within its mobile app. It also enhanced its search platform to make searches more relevant on an individualized basis, moving the brand forward in terms of personalization.
The company reported on an ongoing momentum in pants, for both men and women. In addition, Lululemon continued to expand the key categories of bras and outerwear, which were particularly strong in the latest quarter. In men's, the group raised its revenues by 38 percent, which is the largest increase of the year. Women's increased by mid-teens.
The company's gross margin climbed by 0.7 percentage points to 55.1 percent – due to lower product costs, a favorable product mix and lower markdowns. The operating margin expanded by 1.0 percentage point to 19.2 percent.
In Europe, revenues grew by 29 percent. The company recently opened a new store in the Marais district of Paris, its second main line store in the French capital, which leverages upon the success of its Saint-Germain store, which it opened earlier this year. In addition, it entered Norway, a new market for Lululemon, with a store in Oslo.
In North America, the company's largest region, revenues grew by 21 percent. The company remains on track to open a total of 15 to 20 units in the region this year.
The stand-out during the period was China, with the company planning to double its store base there this year. The digital channel remained robust in China with e-commerce growing over 60 percent in the quarter. Lululemon scored a record-setting Singles' Day in November, when it surpassed the entire volume of last year's event in just 69 minutes.
All in all, Lululemon has opened 21 stores globally in the last year, ending the quarter with 479 locations.
The management raised its guidance for the full year, projecting revenues in the range of $3.89 to $3.91 billion, with a comparable store sales increase in the mid-teens in constant currencies. This compares with an earlier forecast for revenues of between $3.80 to $3.84 billion, with low double-digit comparable store growth.