A busy holiday shopping period helped power Lululemon Athletica Inc.'s (TSX:LLL) fourth-quarter profits higher as revenues jumped a whopping 51 per cent.
The yoga-inspired retailer posted Thursday net income of US$73.5 million or 51 cents per share for the three months ended Jan. 29. That was two cents higher than analysts had expected, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.
A year earlier, the retailer had reported earnings of $54.8 million or 38 cents per share.
Revenues grew to $371.5 million from $245.4 million. Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, increased 26 per cent.
"We have found the right balance between delivering strong growth and maintaining focus on innovation and execution," said chief executive Christine Day on a conference call with analysts.
Lululemon has been fixing troubles with its inventory supply that had once left it struggling to keep up with demand, and ramping up an online store that carries a wider selection.
The popularity of Lululemon yoga and run apparel is already well-established in Canada and is growing south of the border — a phenomenon that has been reflected in quarterly results that have soared past expectations for more than a year.
But that has also created supply problems in its stores, where its body-hugging pants, shorts and tops fly off the shelves faster than inventory can be restocked.
"I feel that we're better poised to execute than we ever have been before, with the work that we've done on our supply chain," Day said.
"I really feel starting 2012, we have more capacity to execute our plan and our future than we've ever had before."
For the full year 2011, the company hit the billion-dollar benchmark for revenue compared to $711.7 million in 2010. Profits grew to $185 million from $122.2 million the previous year.
In its outlook, the company expects first-quarter revenue in the range of $265 million to $270 million, with same-store sales percentage increases "in the low 20s." Diluted earnings per share is targeted at 28 to 29 cents.
For 2012, revenue is expected to come in at $1.3 billion to $1.33 billion, with diluted earnings in the range of $1.50 to $1.57 cents per share.
Lululemon opened its first store in 1998 in Vancouver and has expanded to 137 stores in the past decade.