The harrowing 16% plunge in lululemon athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) shares may spur plenty of "downward dog" jokes today. But with shares down more than 36% so far this year, the yoga apparel specialist's weary investors aren't laughing.
On one hand, Lululemon's first-quarter results weren't bad by any means. That includes revenue, which grew 11% to $384.6 million, and adjusted net income of $0.34 per diluted share -- the latter of which reflects a one-time $0.21-per-share adjustment from the planned repatriation of foreign earnings. Analysts, on average, were modeling adjusted earnings of $0.32 per share on sales of $381.2 million.
In addition, Lululemon unveiled a new two-year, $450 million share repurchase program, with which it intends to "create shareholder value by making opportunistic repurchases during periods of favorable market conditions."
On the other hand, there's plenty for the market not to like. First -- and however small -- Lululemon lowered the top end of its existing fiscal 2014 revenue guidance by $20 million, and now expects full-year revenue in the range of $1.77 billion to $1.80 billion. Lululemon also lowered its full-year expectations for adjusted earnings per share to a range of $1.71 to $1.76, compared to its previous range of $1.80 to $1.90. Analysts went into the report optimistically looking for full-year sales and earnings of $1.80 billion and $1.89 per share.
What's more, Lululemon announced that its chief financial officer, John Currie, intends to retire by the end of this fiscal year. To his credit, this isn't a forced departure. Rather, in Currie's words, he simply wants to expand his "involvement in serving on corporate and non-profit boards, and the flexibility of retirement will also allow me to take full advantage of the west coast lifestyle that I so enjoy on the water and on the slopes." Still, the timing of this departure is less than ideal.
Finally, investors are nervous after Chip Wilson -- Lululemon's admittedly brash founder, former chairman, and single-largest shareholder -- spoke out against the company's board. Specifically, Wilson lamented of a "palpable imbalance" caused by both Lululemon's current chairman, Michael Casey, and director RoAnn Costin, whose ideals he claims are "heavily weighted toward short-term results at the expense of product, culture and brand and longer-term corporate goals." Wilson stated that he used his 27% stake in the company to vote against their re-election.
Curiously, I agree with fellow Fool Andrew Marder when he says Wilson's comments actually make sense for once. Lululemon is still working to right its wrongs and improve its supply chain following last year's damaging see-through-pants recall, and the company should be doing everything it can to build a solid long-term base going forward.
At the same time, we don't have the same visibility into Lululemon's board that Wilson has, so we can't exactly confirm that Casey and Costin are the problems he claims they are. Luckily, I'm still convinced Lululemon has found a CEO in Laurent Potdevin who has the necessary vision required to turn Lululemon around. And as a long-term investor, I've long made it clear I'm perfectly fine weathering some short-term pain to get there. As a result, I have no intention of letting go of my own shares.