Analysts Weigh in on Poor Lululemon (LULU) Results

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Lululemon (LULU) bombed on Monday after updating fourth-quarter guidance ending Feb. 2 which came in well below Wall Street's expectations. Over the session, shares fell 16.6%.

The athletic apparel company said it now expects revenue between $513 million and $518 million and net income in the range of 71 cents to 73 cents a share. Management had previously estimated revenue between $535 million and $540 million and earnings of 78 cents to 80 cents a share. The Vancouver-based business said it expects comparable-store sales to fall in the low-to-mid single digits, compared to previous estimates of flat comparable-store sales.

The updated guidance falls significantly short of consensus. Analysts polled by Thomson Reutershad expected net income of 79 cents a share on $539.87 million in revenue.

On Tuesday, BMO Capital Markets' analyst John D. Morris reiterated a "market perform" rating but lowered his target price to $50 from $59.

"For now, we remain on the sidelines: while we continue to see the incoming CEO Laurent Potdevin as capable, with a history in related wholesale experience, it will take some time, and we expect hiccups along the way," wrote Morris in the report.

"Our field work continues to indicate product with quality issues on shelves, which at some point, we believe, risks harming the brand reputation. The new supply chain team, we believe, is taking steps in the right direction, but still has a ways to go; and while global expansion presents tremendous opportunity, it also presents distraction."

BMO Capital Markets lowered its fourth-quarter earnings estimate to 73 cents a share from 80 cents a share, and full-year 2014 earnings to $2.13 a share from $2.20 a share.

D.A. Davidson & Co, meanwhile, reiterated Lululemon as a "buy", noting while the recovery timeline is murky, it is not broken. Analyst Andrew Burns' price target was lowered to $64 from $73.

"Sentiment likely remains challenged until 2014 earnings guidance provided and business stabilizes. We are disappointed in both the magnitude and timing of this earnings shortfall considering the relative unimportance of January after being "on plan" through December," wrote Burns in the report.

"Even though the bad news is now out, the stock will likely continue to struggle until a 2014 earnings baseline is provided on the 4Q call in March. Longer-term, we continue to believe 2014 can be a recovery year where execution improves, international growth potential is validated and the company can rebuild investor confidence/sentiment. LULU remains a leading athletic apparel brand with phenomenal store productivity and ample growth drivers ahead (new stores, ecommerce, international)."

D.A. Davidson predicts fourth-quarter earnings of 72 cents a share on $515 million in revenue and full-year earnings of $2.11 a share on $1.827 billion in revenue.

UBS maintained its "neutral" rating and $60 price target, remaining cautious on the stock through fiscal 2014.

"January deceleration underscores product issues. While weather played a role, so did less compelling merchandise as evidenced by a slowdown in the less weather sensitive online channel. Core product continues to be slower with elevated inventories expected for 1H," wrote analyst Roxanne Meyer in a report.

And, Canaccord reiterated its "buy" rating but lowered its price target to $73 from $82.

"With mill #2 now producing Luon in quantity and mill #3 coming online in 1H14, spring '14 should be a reset in which product flow normalizes and more newness is introduced into the line. We acknowledge any meaningful catalysts for the stock are 2-3 months away (Q4 EPS in March and analyst day in April), but still believe in the brand and the company's ability to regain its footing in 2014," wrote analysts Camilo Lyon and Patrick O'Brien in the report.

By late morning Tuesday, shares had slipped 0.7% to $49.35.

TheStreet Ratings team reiterates LULULEMON ATHLETICA INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. The team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate LULULEMON ATHLETICA INC (LULU) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, impressive record of earnings per share growth, expanding profit margins and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • LULU's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 18.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 20.0%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • LULU has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 6.48, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • LULULEMON ATHLETICA INC has improved earnings per share by 15.4% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, LULULEMON ATHLETICA INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.85 versus $1.27 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.95 versus $1.85).
  • The gross profit margin for LULULEMON ATHLETICA INC is rather high; currently it is at 57.26%. Regardless of LULU's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, LULU's net profit margin of 17.40% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Textiles, Apparel & Luxury Goods industry average. The net income increased by 15.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $57.32 million to $66.11 million.

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