Wilson, who has been critical of Lululemon CEO Laurent Potdevin, recently took out a bus station ad in Vancouver (below) with a rather provocative caption. "Lululemon Buy Under Armour Now!" the sign reads in large white font. "Lululemon's business model is to have no debt and $1 billion in the bank and to be ready for an extraordinary opportunity. Under Armour is now weak. They have junk bond debt, too much inventory and technology purchases they cannot monetize."
When asked by TheStreet if Under Armour would really be a good fit for Lululemon, Wilson replied, "No, it was a joke."
We look at three reasons why Lululemon is doing just fine (without Under Armour...), even as its founder and former chairman suggest otherwise.
Lululemon is fresh off a good holiday season.
In January, Lululemon raised its sales guidance for the fourth quarter from between $765 million and $785 million, to between $775 million and $785 million. To be sure, Lululemon's holiday sales were a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season for retailers. The ability to outperform other apparel sellers in the mall right now such as Under Armour shouldn't be overlooked.
Having a strong digital presence -- e-commerce sales now represent nearly 20% of Lululemon's business -- has helped, too.
Lululemon is moving forward to unlock growth opportunities.
The company is expanding its men's and children's lines, and continuing to develop new fabrics that cater to athletes. Lululemon anticipates doubling sales of its women's and men's businesses within three years to about $3 billion and $1 billion, respectively.
Meanwhile, it recently opened a men's store in Soho in New York City, and has promoted an executive to be general manager of its children's line, Ivivva. "Her mandate is to be disruptive and grow Ivivva as quickly as possible," Potdevin told TheStreet in a January interview. "We want as many Ivivva young girls in North America as possible because they love the product, but also it's an amazing incubator for the Lululemon brand."
In effect, Lululemon isn't sitting still.
Lululemon is revealing that it wants to be a global brand.
Among the company's new store locations are three each in Canada and the U.K., two in South Korea and one each in Singapore and Switzerland. Potdevin also told TheStreet that by 2020 the company sees the international business being 25% of its total revenue.
The company said last summer that it wants to double its sales, and more than double its earnings, by the year 2020. It has opened 35 net new company-operated since the 3rd quarter of 2015, including 26 in the United States.