Home Gym – Lululemon Earnings Could End the Stock’s Reopening Blues. Here’s Why.
Athletica will report earnings after the close of regular trading Thursday. It’s a chance for the pandemic favorite to find its way back into investors’ good graces.
Lululemon (LULU) had a great 2020. The yoga and workout apparel maker, like other retailers, was hurt by the initial Covid-19 lockdowns, but the company made a swift recovery, with shoppers snapping up its comfortable gear as they spent more time at home and focusing on their health. Analysts praised the stock and its growing market share, as well as its purchase of at-home workout firm Mirror.
High expectations dogged its earnings reports, and many questioned how lululemon—like other 2020 winners–would thrive in a post-pandemic world. The company’s most recent report, delivered in March, included lighter-than-anticipated full-year guidance that hurt the shares, which have gained just 2.7% over the past 12 months, even as bulls have urged patience.
That patience could pay off if the company manages to report better-than-expected results.
Analysts are looking for lululemon to earn 91 cents a share for the quarter, on revenue of $1.1 billion. That compares to 22 cents a share in the year-ago period and 74 cents in the comparable pre-pandemic quarter of 2019.
Overall, earnings estimates for lululemon have been coming down in the past few months, as analysts tweaked their models lower to reflect the company’s full-year financial forecast. Yet the company’s report comes amid a wave of positive retail reports in recent weeks: From big box stores like Target (TGT) and
(WMT) to apparel companies and mall staples like Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), Gap (GPS), Macy’s (M), and
(URBN), this earnings season has been dominated by strong results and in many cases upbeat commentary about the rest of the year.
That’s down to increased vaccination rates, which has made people more comfortable shopping in stores again even as they continue ordering online, and an ongoing fashion shift. Moreover, consumers had plenty of cash to burn during retailers’ fiscal first quarters: The most recent round of government stimulus boosted March retail sales to a pandemic-era record while consumer confidence soared to its highest level in more than a year in April. An improving labor market and ongoing economic reopening have many investors hopeful that the spending surge will continue in the quarters to come.
That combination—of lowered earnings expectations and broader macro tailwinds for retailers—could be one that leads lululemon to a first-quarter beat and actually allows the stock to benefit, unlike prior quarters when the shares fell despite upbeat results.
Of course, that’s not a guarantee. The company could slip back into its old pattern of post-earnings losses if recent retailers’ reports have gotten investors’ hopes up again. Other metrics beyond the top and bottom line could disappoint, or the market could be unforgiving if lululemon doesn’t update its outlook, which many hoped was conservative. Growth at Mirror could be a weak spot if consumers have felt comfortable returning to gyms sooner than expected.
Still, with lululemon off 8% year to date, the stock is cheaper than it has been for much of last year.
And that makes the bull case less of a stretch.
Write to Teresa Rivas at [email protected]
Home Gym – Lululemon Earnings Could End the Stock’s Reopening Blues. Here’s Why.]
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