It has been a brighter holiday shopping season than lululemon athletica's (NASDAQ:LULU) management team first predicted. The apparel giant on Monday announced that it is raising its outlook for the fiscal fourth quarter, which ends in late January and captures the key holiday shopping spike.

CEO Calvin McDonald and his team now say sales should reach the high end of the guidance range executives issued back in mid-December. That should put revenue gains in the high-teen percentage range, which would mark steady growth compared to the prior quarter. "We're pleased with the momentum over the holiday period," McDonald said in a press release.

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Executives had warned investors to expect a sharper slowdown in Q4 as COVID-19 outbreaks limited store traffic capacity during the holiday shopping spike. This week's update suggests that the chain had no problem offsetting that slump with surging demand from its online sales channel. That e-commerce division roughly doubled in the third quarter and supported Lululemon's 21% overall revenue increase for the period.

Lululemon might add detail to its outlook in a planned investor conference this week, but shareholders won't get the full Q4 picture until earnings results are issued in late March.

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