No matter what specialty retailer you're holding in your portfolio, it's probably a slacker compared to lululemon athletica
Everything went lululemon's way. Gross margins widened from 49% to 53%. When workout-minded patrons are picking your stores dry, there's no need to mark down your wares. The challenge is in restocking depleted inventories, and lululemon seems to be doing just fine on that front.
The company is looking to earn between $0.30 and $0.33 a share this year, with overall comps slowing to a still-impressive range in the mid- to high teens. It's a good place to be, especially for a company that just went public last month and is already valued at more than $2 billion.
Yes, the market cap may seem high for a company that you have probably never heard of. Thirty-eight of the company's 59 stores are in Canada, though that will change given its stateside expansion push. lululemon will add 25 new stores this year, with all but eight opening in the second half of the year. The chain is targeting 30 to 35 more units next year.
The company sees a potential of 200 to 300 North American stores, and that's before it explores overseas expansion (it presently has three stores in Japan and one in Australia).
The concept is clearly unique. Selling pricey yoga apparel is suited mostly to upscale markets. Good luck finding a match among leading conventional retailers. That leaves investors comparing the company to the likes of Under Armour
This doesn't mean that lululemon is a screaming buy, though. Shares are trading at more than 100 times the company's projected earnings this year. One can argue that the company has penetrated just a fifth of its targeted North American market, but a lot can happen between now and then. Copycats will come. Fitness trends may change. Comps may slow, exposing the costs of heady expansion.
The risks are there, but this is a hot concept early in its growth cycle, and it's nice to get excited about a mall retailer again.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz doesn't think he's cut out for yoga, given his inability to relax and focus. 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.