Lululemon (LULU) shares dropped like a stone in early Thursday trading thanks to full-year guidance from the company that was less than analysts’ expectations. This comes on the heels of yesterday’s news that founder Chip Wilson voted against both its new chairman Michael Casey and director RoAnn Costin.
Lululemon now sits below $40 for the first time since February 2011 — since then, it has been as high as $82.50, but mostly bounced between $60 and $70. So, with LULU stock trading more than 50% below its five-year high, there’s a potential buying opportunity in the face.
But Lululemon lacks for good news, and the latest Lululemon earnings report didn’t paint a rosy picture. So is there anything CEO Laurent Potdevin can do to get Lululemon turned in the right direction?
A Little Hope for Lululemon Stock
As bad as it was on its face, the Q1 report was hiding a few positives.
For one, the top line was reasonably healthy; overall revenues increased 11% year-over-year to $385 million. This double-digit gain was spurred on by its direct-to-consumer business, which saw revenues jump 22% year-over-year and now represents 17.2% of its overall sales. With greater profits to be had from e-commerce, this is definitely good news for LULU stock.
On the profitability front, Lululemon’s gross margins increased 150 basis points to 50.9%, which is hardly room for complaint. While nowhere near the 58.7% gross margin it notched in Q1 2011, it’s an indication Lululemon has stemmed the bleeding when it comes to cost of goods. If the company can continue to boost gross margins by 50 to 150 basis points in future quarters, it will be back to 57% annual gross margins in no time.
Meanwhile, Lululemon earnings of 34 cents per share — which back out a one-time adjustment of $30.9 million to account for the repatriation of foreign earnings that will be allocated to LULU stock buybacks — one penny better than in Q1 2013. While Lululemon barely improved on a non-GAAP basis, it’s important to remember that over the past four quarters, the company still has managed to generate $1.93 in diluted EPS despite all the uncertainty facing its business.
Finally, Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh appeared on The Daily Ticker, recently admitting that women have moved away from denim and now opt for yoga pants as their preferred outfit when going casual. Levi’s answer: produce “super soft, super stretchy jeans” that are equally as comfortable. Imitation is the ultimate form of flattery. Despite lots of competition from Gap (GPS), VF Corp. (VFC) and many others, this psychographic trend can only help boost LULU stock in the future.
The transition from Christine Day’s regime is ongoing. It will take a few more quarters for Potdevin to right the ship, but thankfully we’re not talking about the Titanic.