Lululemon's earnings show customers unfazed by inflation

Vancouver leisure-wear retailer beats revenue and profit expectations, raises guidance

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Hoarding outside Lululemon's flagshop Vancouver store at the corner of Robson and Burrard streets alerts shoppers that the location will reopen this summer | Glen Korstrom

Lululemon Athletica Inc.'s (Nasdaq:LULU) higher-end customers appeared to shrug off rising prices by shelling out more than expected in the company's first quarter, ended May 1.

The Vancouver-based company generated US$1.61 billion in first-quarter sales, up from the US$1.53 billion that analysts expected. That helped the company earn US$1.48 per share in profit, up from US$1.43 that analysts expected. 

Lululemon's first-quarter revenue was 31.6 per cent more than the same quarter a year ago. Its nearly US$190 million in first-quarter profit was almost 31.1 per cent more than a year ago. 

Executives expect continued improvement. 

CEO Calvin McDonald told analysts on a conference call that the company's "product pipeline remains very strong."

Lululemon upped its revenue guidance to be in a range between US$7.61 billion and US$7.71 billion in the current fiscal year, which ends January 29, 2023. It had previously suggested that those sales would be somewhere between US$7.49 billion and US$7.62 billion. 

"Continued momentum in the business enabled us to achieve a strong start to the year," McDonald said in a press release. "These results provide a solid foundation as we begin our next five-year journey."

Lululemon opened a net total of five new stores during the quarter, which ended with it having 579 stores around the world. 

The company's share price was up more than two per cent after hours, after being down about 23 per cent so far this year. 

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom