Lululemon gets punished for weak outlook despite a holiday quarter that beat all expectations

MarketsAssociated Press

A darker outlook from Lululemon overshadowed a very strong holiday quarter from the yoga gear retailer and shares slumped almost 6 percent before the opening bell Thursday.

Even though the company raised its expectations for 2015, Wall Street has been looking for even more and its first-quarter outlook disappointed as well.

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Lululemon earned $110.9 million, or 78 cents per share, for the period ended Feb. 1. That compares with $109.7 million, or 75 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected a profit of 73 cents per share.

Revenue increased to $602.5 million from $521 million. Wall Street was calling for $599.8 million in revenue.

Sales at stores open at least a year climbed 5 percent in the quarter, but declined 1 percent for the year. For the year, the Canadian company reported an adjusted profit of $1.89 per share on revenue of $1.8 billion.

Lululemon now anticipates a fiscal 2015 profit between $1.85 and $1.90 per share on revenue in a range of $1.97 billion to $2.02 billion. Its prior outlook was for a profit between $1.74 and $1.78 per share on revenue of $1.77 billion to $1.78 billion.

For the first quarter, the chain expects a profit of 31 cents to 33 cents per share on revenue in a range of $413 million to $418 million.

Analysts foresee a fiscal 2015 profit of $2.07 per share on revenue of $2.05 billion. For the first quarter, analysts predict a profit of 39 cents per share on revenue of $442.3 million.

Shares of Lululemon fell $3.38 to $57.58 before the market open.

Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon Athletica Inc., stepped down from the company board last month. He had resigned as chairman last year after controversy about comments he made about customers' body types.