Could the once-red-hot Lululemon (LULU) be in store for some brighter days?
Barclays thinks so.
"We believe the company remains well on the path to delivering annual revenue growth in the mid-teens and to reach $4 billion [in sales] by 2020: Long-term plans are not contingent upon anything additional outside of what has been communicated about the core business," wrote Barclays in a note following its hosting of Lululemon management, including CEO Laurent Potdevin, in Boston on Monday, June 26.
Lululemon executives also restated plans to hit $1 billion in international business by 2020, underlining its success in Asia, which they expect to reach break-even profitability this year, Barclays also noted.
"The company's vertically integrated business model serves as a major competitive advantage, particularly within the current retail environment: The company does not have the same exposure to weak retail partners as wholesale competitors, which we note are actively shifting their own business models towards an increasingly direct relationship with consumers," wrote Barclays.
Lululemon's stock, which was at $55.78 in mid-morning trading on Tuesday, was as high as $80.65 on Aug. 19, 2016.
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In the last year, the company has dealt with a cooling of customer interest and a change in fashion trends. And it has also closed stores, like many mall-based retailers. he company plans to shut down approximately 40 of its 55 ivivva stores geared to girls by Aug. 20 and convert about half of the remaining locations to lululemon stores this year. All affected employees will work until Sept. 1 and, if possible, be placed in other jobs within the company. Lululemon said that because the ivivva stores have been operating at a slight loss, it made the decision to close the bulk of them, while eight will remain in key communities and seven stores will be converted into Lululemon stores, where sales have been stronger.
But the company has had several wins, too.
In the last quarter, Lululemon reported earnings of 32 cents a share on revenue of $520.31 million. Analysts polled by FactSect were projecting earnings of 28 cents a share on revenue of $514 million.
It has also spent heavily to upgrade its digital operations, which Barclays expects to grow after a bigger platform release this year, and has been introducing and selling one new product well -- a $68 bra.
"The Enlite bra's success not only demonstrates the company's ability to drive pricing where appropriate," wrote Barclays of the high-end retailer, "but also provides further credibility for the brand to speak for the entire closet."
Lululemon could not immediately be reached for comment.
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