Lululemon Flounders, Even as Results Beat Expectations

Lululemon Athletica Inc (NASDAQ:LULU) reported stronger-than-expected results for its fourth quarter, but pulled its annual forecast.

The Vancouver-based athletic wear maker reported Thursday net revenue of $1.4 billion, an increase of 20% compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018.

Gross profit was $810.8 million, an increase of 21% compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018. Gross margin was 58.0%, an increase of 70 basis points compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018.

Income from operations was $416.5 million, an increase of 26% compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018. Income tax expense was $120.6 million compared to $115.8 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 and the effective tax rate was 28.8% compared to 34.6% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018. The adjusted effective tax rate for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 was 26.9%.

Diluted earnings per share were $2.28 compared to $1.65 in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018. Adjusted diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 were $1.85.

The Company repurchased 1,600 shares of its own common stock at an average cost of $194.10 per share in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019.

The Company ended fiscal 2019 with $1.1 billion in cash and cash equivalents compared to $881.3 million at the end of fiscal 2018.

Inventories at the end of fiscal 2019 increased by 28% to $518.5 million compared to $404.8 million at the end of fiscal 2018. The Company ended the year with 491 stores.

LULU shares capsized $8.94, or 4.5%, to $191.86