Focus and relaxation are major components of yoga culture. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for lululemon athletica
Whether it's Herb Greenberg's accusations that the company's CEO is padding his resume, or a New York Times expose on iffy seaweed-fiber apparel claims, lululemon must have all the concentration of a soda-sipping toddler at a fast-food playground right now.
Integrity is important when it comes to high-end appeal. Do you think that Chipotle could get away with its $6 burritos if its "food with integrity" claim was ever in doubt?
So with all this tumult, shoppers must be flying out of lululemon stores, right? Not exactly. The specialty retailer posted stellar quarterly results this morning. Revenue soared 84% to $66.2 million, with profits more than quadrupling to $0.11 a share. Heady expansion is helping, but check out the 36% comps at the store level. (That figure gets reduced to a still-impressive 26% on a constant dollar basis, to offset the currency gains from its Canadian presence.)
So what? That's lululemon's rear-view mirror. The company will really feel the pinch now, as shoppers defect from the fresh smorgasbord spread of scandals. Right?
Not so fast. The company is substantially hiking its guidance this morning. It's now looking to earn between $0.40 and $0.42 a share this fiscal year (ending in early February). It had previously projected annual profitability of $0.30 to $0.33 a share.
The company certainly has its skeptics. Alyce Lomax is right to point out that several other retailers have interests in yoga apparel, like Liz Claiborne's
The stock may be as pricey as some of its high-end clothing. Pumped-up guidance helps, but lululemon is still trading at a sobering 100 times this year's bottom-line outlook.
That kind of multiple will stand out when mall staples like Abercrombie & Fitch
However, none of those chains come even close to matching lululemon's comps, growth, and clear path to expansion. Ritzy suburban malls will likely dangle tempting leasehold improvement offers to attract the RILF (that's Retailer I'd Like to Finance) that this focused -- and relaxed -- chain has become.
The bears may have valid points, but the numbers do not lie. Count me in with the bulls, who are sitting pretty -- in or out of the Sukhasana position.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has yet to master the Downward Facing Dog. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Motley Fool holds stock in American Eagle. The Fool's disclosure policy seeks balance in all things.