Company News

Not just online: Lululemon eyes record highs on revamped stores

June 1 (Reuters) - Lululemon Athletica Inc’s shares were set to open at a record high on Friday as customers continued to flock to the athletic apparel maker’s stores in spite of intense online competition.

Shares of the Canadian company, which popularized “athleisure wear” by turning pricey women’s yoga wear into mainstream fashion, were up 7.75 percent at $113.19 in premarket trading.

Lululemon’s recent push to renovate stores paid off in the latest reported quarter, with traffic rising in the mid-single digit range.

“We are particularly impressed with Lululemon’s store performance given many retailers still cite negative traffic trend,” Cowen & Co analyst Oliver Chen said.

Direct-to-consumer revenue, which includes online sales, rose 62 percent in the first quarter, helping the company record a profit of 55 cents per share. Analysts were expecting a profit of 46 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

At least nine brokerages raised their price target on Lululemon’s stock, with Barclays being the most bullish.

The brokerage raised its price target by $50 to $150, saying they were “hard-pressed to find anything negative” in first-quarter numbers.

Morningstar analysts said strong performance at Lululemon’s men’s and accessories lines, showed its products continue to “resonate” with evolving consumer tastes.

In targeting men, Lululemon has jumped into an arena dominated by the likes of Nike Inc and Under Armour Inc and expects the division to reach a billion dollars in sales by 2020.

Lululemon was on track for $4 billion in revenue in 2020, COO Stuart Heselden said on a conference call on Thursday.

The company had announced the abrupt departure of CEO Laurent Potdevin in February on undisclosed charges of misconduct. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan and Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)