Two analysts issued widely divergent takes on how yoga wear maker lululemon (LULU) - Get Report fared during the weekend after Christmas, with Wedbush taking a favorable view and FBR Capital much more pessimistic.
BULLISH TAKE: Wedbush analyst Morry Brown believes lululemon had a strong Christmas weekend with good traffic and conversion, adding that was possible despite that "most stores" held markdowns back in the days leading up to Christmas. Other mall-based yoga brands, in contrast, resorted to promotions to drive traffic, the analyst told investors in a research note. Brown keeps an Overweight rating and $56 price target on lululemon shares.
BEARISH TAKE: Conversely, FBR Capital analyst Susan Anderson says lululemon had a "huge" clearance sale on the day after Christmas, which is now being branded "Boxing Day" by U.S. retailers. While the retailer typically has a December 26th sale, this year's sale had 19 racks of sales items versus three last year, Anderson stated. The analyst keeps an Underperform rating on lululemon shares.
ALSO DIVIDED ON ABERCROMBIE: Elsewhere in the specialty retail space, Brown believes stepped up promotions drove traffic at Gap's (GPS) Old Navy and Banana brands. The analyst added that store checks indicated Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) had some of the strongest traffic and sell through among teen retailers by the end of the holiday weekend. Again taking the other side, FBR's Anderson thinks lululemon, Abercrombie & Fitch and Gap are all at risk of missing expectations. Anderson, who believes this year's holiday season ended up being more promotional than expected partly due to warmer weather, favors Hanesbrands (HBI), Ascena Retail (ASNA), American Eagle (AEO) and Under Armour (UA) into the Q4 reporting season.
PRICE ACTION: In pre-market trading, lululemon shares slipped about 0.5% to $52.93.
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