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Lululemon- A Growth Story in "Athleisure"

We’ve seen a bunch of companies in the past decade have two or three legs to their growth story; for example, think of Netflix (NFLX), which started with DVDs by mail, then streaming and then original content, observes Mike Cintolo, editor of Cabot Top Ten Trader.

We think Lululemon (LULU) is following a similar path, with the company’s yoga-wear (which led the “athleisure” apparel movement a few years back) causing a huge growth wave in the early 2010s.

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Now, after a few years of snafus, the company is showing accelerating growth again as it succeeds in a number of new areas — yoga is still a core business, but Lululemon has branched into apparel for outerwear (including cold weather) and office travel commuting for women.

Men’s wear (much of it athletic, but some not) is a big growth area and self-care products (well received in testing, including things like deodorant, balm and face moisturizer) are set to be launched in the near future.

Throw in expansion overseas and investments in the firm’s distribution and e-commerce capabilities and the results are outstanding — Q4 revenues lifted 26%, the fastest pace of growth in years, while earnings soared 39%, same-store sales rose 7%, e-commerce revenues shot ahead by 39% and management had a solid outlook for the upcoming year.

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With Lululemon transitioning from a niche apparel and lifestyle brand to something much more, there’s the potential for the firm to grow in a big way from here. The firm’s upcoming Analyst Day (later this month) should provide more details.

LULU broke out from a five-year base last March and had a big run, about doubling by the time the market got cranky in the fourth quarter. What followed was a sharp-but-reasonable correction (33%) and what turned out to be a new, six-month launching pad.

And then the stock blasted out of that base on earnings two weeks ago (heaviest weekly volume since June 2017), and tacked on a bit of ground last week. We think you can buy in here.

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