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1 Apparel Stock Growing Sales by 65% This Year

By Matthew Frankel, CFP® and Jason Hall - Updated Jun 22, 2021 at 3:23PM

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Here's one athletic apparel company you might want to put on your radar.

Several major apparel manufacturers have struggled lately, but lululemon athletica (LULU 1.23%) isn't one of them. In this Fool Live video clip, recorded on June 10, consumer goods bureau chief Jena Greene discusses why this is one apparel company you might want to watch.

Jena Greene: Lululemon, you guys, now I own it. It makes up for about 30% of my portfolio.

Jason Hall: Holy guacamole.

Greene: I'm overweight Lululemon for sure. I'm wearing it right now by coincidence. This one, it's done quite well for me since I bought it in early 2020. I got it on sale. It's been a favorite of mine for some time now. Since its Vancouver-based inception in 1998, it's managed to elevate itself from the brand of college sorority sisters, which is how I always used to think of it before I started digging into the stock fundamentals, to a well-regarded household name.

Its strategic partnerships with high-end fitness brands and experiences have only worked to elevate it as an attainable status symbol among fitness fanatics. Slightly higher price points compared to competitors like Nike, Gap, Target, and Adidas, given a far more competitive edge with sticky crisis resistance, see: 2020. Sales are rare. Things rarely go on sale at Lulu, but customers are fiercely loyal due to its strong brand awareness and a variety of successful social pushes. That's paid off, e-commerce continues to outperform, raking in $545 million in net revenue this past quarter.

Even more impressive that all of those online sales are direct-to-consumer. You can't get Lululemon on Amazon or at Dick's Sporting Goods, or any of those other brick-and-mortar sporting goods retailers that you were talking about before, Jason. International is also going gangbusters. It's on track to quadruple its 2018 sales levels and just reported net revenue increases of 125% compared to the year-ago quarter. I like this stock for a variety of reasons, but the fundamentals make sense.

I'm a big fan of the CEO. His name is Calvin McDonald, he's been here 2018, and he joined from Sephora Americas. That's an interesting decision. I'm a big fan of Sephora as well. I like LVMH, which is its parent company. But it's interesting that Lulu decided to go with somebody who is coming from the luxury retail background rather than poaching someone from Nike or Adidas, Under Armour, someone in the athleisure sphere. That is a play that I like, in particular, because Lulu is trying to capture what Sephora did so well, which is emphasize brick-and-mortar presence. Part of what makes Sephora so popular and successful is you really have to go in to get the full experience. Nobody really wants to buy makeup that they haven't tried on themselves. McDonald is emphasizing that in Lulu's brick-and-mortar stores as well. He's trademarked this whole "science of feel" technology where you don't really know you're getting until you try on these leggings or you take a run in these shorts. Our feel is better. Your leggings aren't going to wear down like Nike's are or whatever the case may be.

That's their whole spiel, is that we're higher quality and you've got to come in, and when you come in, you buy more than you plan to when you're online. I really, really like what he's been doing over the past three years with their brick and mortar. He's worked to make the stores feel like a community. I mentioned the social pushes before. They're working really hard to make Lululemon feel like a community. Similar to when you walk into a Sephora or a Tommy Bahama, they're selling you a lifestyle. They're not really just selling you a pair of running shorts.

It's a whole top-down, inclusive, brand ambassador type of lifestyle, and that's something that I like to see from a company because it's not just a product at the end of the day, it's a whole ecosystem. They partner with fitness instructors to give them, they call it their "sweat collective," to give them 25% off. I don't know about you guys, but I would love to look like my yoga instructor and I think that's free advertising for them.

They're making some strategic acquisitions as well. They bought Mirror in 2020 for $500 million, which was a fantastic decision on my end. It is exceeding expectations, McDonald has said, sales are expected to rise by 65% in 2021, which is impressive because I think a lot of people are expecting 2021, more people will be working out at the gym or outside. If they can capture some of that at home working out, it will be a great sign that they've had good retention, good churn, awareness and consideration for Mirror is lower than most competitors, which would be something like a Nautilus or a Peloton.

Good things on the holistic perspective of Lulu, as far as the stock perspective is concerned. They just reported earnings last night, so it's fresh off the presses. Earnings per share be estimates, came in at just over $1.10, so things are looking good there. Brick and mortar, net revenue up 106% compared to the year ago quarter, direct to consumer, which is online sales, up 55%, compared to the year ago quarter and all of 2020 online sales, like I mentioned before, were up 157%. Things look good. They also did comment on supply chain constraints, port congestion, difficulty getting wholesale delivered on time, which has made for shipping delays. But again, that's an across the board thing, it's not a Lululemon's specific issue. I don't see it being an issue in the long run.

Other things to keep an eye out on. They bought back 300,000 shares last quarter, which is a good sign I always like to see share buybacks, as somebody who it makes up for a third of my portfolio, I would love see more of that. Gross profit margin is around 56%, they've raised their estimates for the rest of 2021 after yesterday's earnings, and they're looking for around $1.3 billion in net revenue for the next quarter and $5.85 billion for the year of 2021. All good things across the board. I like it to wear, I like it to own. I'm a happy investor and a happy consumer.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Jason Hall owns shares of Amazon. Jena Greene owns shares of Lululemon Athletica. Matthew Frankel, CFP has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, Lululemon Athletica, Nike, Peloton Interactive, Under Armour (A Shares), and Under Armour (C Shares). The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1,920 calls on Amazon and short January 2022 $1,940 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Lululemon Athletica Inc. Stock Quote
Lululemon Athletica Inc.
$333.86 (1.23%) $4.06
Target Corporation Stock Quote
Target Corporation
$171.77 (-2.04%) $-3.57, Inc. Stock Quote, Inc.
$142.55 (0.32%) $0.45
The Gap, Inc. Stock Quote
The Gap, Inc.
$10.64 (-3.75%) $0.41
Under Armour, Inc. Stock Quote
Under Armour, Inc.
$9.73 (-2.16%) $0.21
Dick's Sporting Goods, Inc. Stock Quote
Dick's Sporting Goods, Inc.
$111.11 (-1.02%) $-1.15
NIKE, Inc. Stock Quote
NIKE, Inc.
$116.17 (-0.74%) $0.87
adidas AG Stock Quote
adidas AG
$84.45 (-2.20%) $-1.90
Nautilus, Inc. Stock Quote
Nautilus, Inc.
$2.46 (-1.21%) $0.03
LVMH Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton, Société Européenne Stock Quote
LVMH Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton, Société Européenne
$142.31 (-0.45%) $0.64
Under Armour, Inc. Stock Quote
Under Armour, Inc.
$8.78 (-2.55%) $0.23
Peloton Interactive, Inc. Stock Quote
Peloton Interactive, Inc.
$12.35 (-4.60%) $0.59

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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