Another Lulu of a Quarter

Say what you will, but lululemon athletica (Nasdaq: LULU  ) isn't like the other retailers. The Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation is a growth-stock darling in a yoga-pants disguise.

Don't take my word for it. Pull up a quote on Yahoo! Finance and check out the "People viewing LULU also viewed" data. With the exception of UGG boot maker Deckers Outdoor (Nasdaq: DECK  ) , investors tracking lululemon are interested in scintillating growth stocks far removed from suburban shopping malls. Three of the six suggested stocks are even fellow picks in the Rule Breakers newsletter service!

If you're hungry for even more proof, just pull up this morning's quarterly report.

Revenue soared 53%, to $245.4 million at the seller of high-end athleticwear for women, fueled by a 28% spike in comps. Earnings climbed even faster, clocking in at $0.64 a share before a favorable tax adjustment benefit. Analysts didn't have a clue. They were holding out for a profit of $0.57 a share on $239 million in revenue.

This scene should look familiar to attentive Fools: lululemon has been wearing monster comps and Wall Street beats all year long. When lululemon itself told the pros to expect quarterly profits of $0.55 a share to $0.57 a share two months ago, those suckers actually believed it.

Here's a quick look at the past four quarters:

Time Period

EPS

Est.

Diff.

Q1 2010 $0.27 $0.21 29%
Q2 2010 $0.30 $0.24 25%
Q3 2010 $0.36 $0.25 44%
Q4 2010 $0.64 $0.57 12%

Source: Thomson Reuters.

One has to respect a company that routinely outpaces analysts by double-digit percentage margins. Its guidance for the new fiscal year isn't exactly eye-popping, explaining the stock's initial weakness today. Then again, I guess investors are making the same mistake that analysts make when they buy into lululemon's conservative prognostications. 

Selling pricey fitness gear seems to be a sweet spot during this otherwise iffy economic recovery. Under Armour (NYSE: UA  ) has also blown past the pros in each of the past four quarters. Nike (NYSE: NKE  ) is three out of four, and simply met estimates during the other period.

The move doesn't apply to all high-end retailers. On the designer denim front, True Religion (Nasdaq: TRLG  ) has missed Wall Street's profit targets in two of the past three quarters, and Joe's Jeans (Nasdaq: JOEZ  ) is trading for less than a third of its 52-week high.

Then again, why am I even pitting lululemon against premium footwear and apparel companies? Didn't I begin by saying that it isn't like the other retailers? Lululemon is a growth stock -- and a good one at that.

Do you know a hotter retailer? Prove it! Top lululemon in the comment box below.

lululemon athletica and Under Armour are Motley Fool Rule Breakers picks. Nike is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Under Armour is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. The Fool owns shares of Under Armour. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz doesn't think he's cut out for yoga, given his inabilities to relax and focus. He even lacks the patience for yoga through Wii Fit. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 17, 2011, at 2:54 PM, FoolishMikee wrote:

    Spot on! As I argue in my pitch on LULU: http://caps.fool.com/Pitch/LULU/5599677/having-traded-lulu-a..., I believe this is a stock that can't be judjed by the numbers as its a "trendy" company. The stock is getting hammered today whilst smashing analyst's (who can't estimate) estimates!! I'm far from a top fool to make a highly rec'd prediction but the 1-star rating LULU is carrying is undeserved!!

  • Report this Comment On March 17, 2011, at 7:36 PM, Jescal7 wrote:

    Hey Rick,

    Thanks for the article.

    Why do you think LULU dropped today?

  • Report this Comment On March 17, 2011, at 8:49 PM, TradewindRider wrote:

    I can tell you why. High P/E ratio, plus a rise in price all week leading up to the earnings announcement was (to me, anyway) a classic case of "buy on expectation, sell on news." That's why I sold my LULU on Wednesday.

    I still like the company and its prospects (the women in my running group rave about it) so I will be getting back in at some point. If the price hits $75 I will likely do an at-the-money straddle before going long again.

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