Just when athletic apparel company lululemon athletica's (LULU -0.61%) momentum was looking as if it couldn't get any better, it did. The company crushed it over the holidays, so much so that management said it now expects its fiscal fourth-quarter revenue and earnings per share to be significantly higher than the guidance range it laid out for the period when it reported fiscal third-quarter results in December.
Notably, the update management gave Monday for its fiscal Q4, which ends on Feb. 2, forecast more strong double-digit growth in comparable sales. Highlighting the company's strength, this comes on top of 16% comparable-sales growth in fiscal Q4 2018.
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"We're excited by the momentum in our business over the holiday period with guests responding well to our innovative merchandise offerings," said Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald in a press release on Monday.
Specifically, the company said it now expects revenue of $1.37 billion to $1.38 billion for the period, up from the previous guidance range of $1.315 billion to $1.330 billion. Management also said it now expects a comparable sales growth rate in the mid to high teen percentages on a constant-currency basis -- up from the prior expectation for a growth rate in the low double digits.
Further, Lululemon said it expects earnings per share for the period to be between $2.22 an $2.25, up from $1.65 in the year-ago quarter and $0.88 in fiscal Q4 2017. At the time of Lululemon's fiscal Q3 update, management forecast Q4 earnings per share would be between $2.10 and $2.13.
This optimistic update from management captures how well Lululemon has been executing recently.
In fiscal Q3, comparable sales increased 16%, revenue jumped 23% year over year, and comparable-store sales were up 10%. Lululemon made progress on boosting profitability as well, with its gross margin expanding 70 basis points year over year, and its operating margin improving by 100 basis points to 19.2%. Earnings per share jumped 35% during the period.
Investors have responded favorably to Lululemon's strong growth throughout fiscal 2019, as well as to management's announcement about its strong holiday period. Including the stock's 4.4% pop on Monday, shares are up 85% over the past 12 months.