This Retailer Will Blow You Away

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There's no stopping lululemon athletica (Nasdaq: LULU  ) .

The fast-growing retailer of high-end athletic wear for active women -- or stylish passive ladies that don't mind paying up to make it seem as if they lead active lifestyles -- posted another blowout quarter this morning.

Net revenue climbed 35% to $186.8 million, fueled by both expansion, strong online sales, and a 16% spike in comps on a constant dollar basis. It's not as if lululemon had to mark down its wares to keep the registers buzzing. Gross, operating, and net profit margins all widened during the period. Earnings soared 70% to $33.4 million, or $0.46 a share. 

Wall Street was only banking on a profit of $0.38 a share on $181.2 million, but it's not as if you can blame them. The high end of the company's guidance three months ago was calling for a profit of $0.38 a share on $180 million.

Then again, maybe you can blame them. Analysts should know better than to simply huddle at the top end of the company's outlook. As long as the economy doesn't derail, lululemon is going to keep blowing past its conservative targets.

Let's go over the past four quarters.





Q2 2010 $0.30 $0.24 25%
Q3 2010 $0.36 $0.25 44%
Q4 2010 $0.64 $0.57 12%
Q1 2011 $0.46 $0.38 21%

Source: Thomson Reuters

They just don't make retailers like lululemon. Earning $33.4 million on $186.8 million translates into net margins of nearly 18%.

This is a good time to be selling premium wares. Upscale jeweler Tiffany (NYSE: TIF  ) and pricey denim wrangler True Religion (Nasdaq: TRLG  ) have blown past the pros on the bottom line in their latest quarterly reports. The same can be said for athletic apparel specialist Under Armour (NYSE: UA  ) . Coach (NYSE: COH  ) and UGG boot maker Deckers Outdoor (Nasdaq: DECK  ) ? Same story, my friend.

These companies can't catch lululemon, though. Only Under Armour grew its top line faster, but it's no lululemon with net margins clocking in just shy of 4%.

The updated outlook is encouraging, with lululemon targeting earnings per share of $0.42 to $0.44 on $200 million to $205 million in revenue for the second quarter. It is also understandably raising its guidance for the entire fiscal year. Instead of earning as much as $2.00 a share on $900 million in net revenue, lululemon is eyeing a profit per share of $2.10 to $2.16 with $915 million to $930 million on the top line.

There's a 2-for-1 stock split on the way in a few weeks, so analysts should be ready to adjust their guesstimates. Then again, since they are going to helplessly huddle at the high end of this range -- only to likely get burned again -- maybe their best bet at catching up to lululemon is by staying pat on their pre-split targets.

I jest, of course -- but lululemon's the one making them look like low-balling flunkies.

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

The Motley Fool owns shares of Under Armour, Coach, and Lululemon Athletica. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Under Armour, Lululemon Athletica, Deckers Outdoor, and Coach. 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.

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LULU $56.20 Down -0.80 -1.40%
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