06/12/2011 02:16 EDT | Updated 08/12/2011 05:12 EDT

Lululemon's Profits Exceed Expectations

Flickr: lululemon athletica

CBC -- Vancouver-based Lululemon Athletica Inc. beat expectations Friday, reporting first-quarter profits of $33.5 million, or 46 cents a share, on stronger sales of its yoga apparel.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had predicted 38 cents a share. The results compared with $19.6-million in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue increased to $186.8 million from $138.3 million as comparable-store sales were up 16 per cent. A strong Canadian dollar helped boost revenues by $4.3 million or 3.1 per cent.

The company said it expects second-quarter revenues in the range of $200 million to $205 million, or 42 to 44 cents per share. It also increased its full-year sales forecast to target $915 million to $930 million, or $2.10 to $2.16 a share.

Its shares closed up 4.9 per cent or $4.10 to $88.00 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The stock price has doubled in the past year and hit a 52-week high of $97.99 in April.

Plans bigger online presence

Later, in a conference call with analysts, the retailer said it is focusing on building its online presence after in-store demand for athletic apparel outran supply in the first quarter and profits soared above expectations for the fifth consecutive quarter.

The firm said it had completed a massive overhaul of its e-commerce site during the latest quarter and plans to ramp up its online presence through social media, web advertising and mobile applications.

"Our online store inventory will be in a good position to support a strong back half of the year," CEO Christine Day said.

The retailer has spent recent months switching management of its web operations from a third-party to a new in-house team as online sales become a bigger part of its growth strategy.

It expects web sales to make up about 10 per cent of revenue this year, and believes they'll reach 15 per cent or more of total sales in the near term.