One Fashion Company That’s Bucking The Retail Trend

Times are tough for many fashion retailers, but there is one company out there that’s not only surviving, but thriving…

Here at MyWallSt, we generally tend to avoid investments in the industries of fashion, pharmaceuticals and banking. However, one company that we’re certainly glad we broke this rule for is Lululemon (NYSE: LULU).

Lululemon is an athleisure company that commands a premium price with its loyal followers. The Canadian-born athletic apparel retailer has successfully combined style with technical fabrics in their clothing, which are now sold in over 400 dedicated stores from New York to New Zealand.

Since adding Lululemon to MyWallSt in September 2015, the stock has grown more than 220%. Not only does this make it the out-and-out leader of the handful of fashion stocks in our app, but an outlier in a climate where many retail companies are struggling. We certainly don’t believe the growth story is over yet for Lululemon, though.

Back in April, the company outlined its ‘Power of Three‘ strategic plan – three priorities the company believes it must focus on to drive revenue growth over the next five years. These are:

  1. Product innovation – The company intends to more than double the size of its burgeoning men’s business revenues by 2023 while continuing expansion in the women’s and accessories businesses.
  2. Omni guest experiences – Lululemon also wants to more than double its digital revenues by 2023, focusing on integrated guest experiences, dynamic new store formats, and its membership program.
  3. Market expansion — The company plans to quadruple its international revenues by 2023, with a particular focus on expanding across China, as well as the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions.

Looking at Lululemon’s first-quarter report last week, we can see that the company is already experiencing some success in these areas.

It is one of 3 sportswear stocks knocking it out of the park.

For example, CEO Calvin McDonald said that comparable sales for menswear grew 26% in the last quarter, with “ongoing strength in both tops and bottoms”. Yoga wear for men will indeed be a big market for the future, with the number of American men rising from 4 million in 2012 to 10 million in 2016.

Overall online sales also increased by 33% in the period, representing nearly 27% of total quarterly revenue. This was driven by strong innovation in sales between digital and online marketplaces, with Lululemon’s ‘buy online, pick up in store’ capability expanded from 35 stores to 115 in Q1. McDonald added that they remain on track for a full rollout by the end of quarter three.

Importantly, Lululemon reported nearly 70% market growth in China and entered into three new cities in the region, with the company on track to open as many as 15 stores in China this year. They also invested heavily in region-specific digital capabilities, with the relaunch of a Chinese site in the quarter complementing the brand’s presence on Tmall (a Chinese-language website for business-to-consumer online retail) and WeChat (a Chinese social media and mobile payment app). These investments already appear to be paying off for Lululemon, with Chinese e-commerce revenues increasing over 100% in the last quarter according to management.

All in all, it will come as no surprise to learn that a business with a comprehensive long-term growth plan is more likely to be solid long-term investments. With Lululemon, we can see a company that knows exactly where it wants to be in five years and is already executing on the key priorities that will get it there.

MyWallSt operates a full disclosure policy. MyWallSt staff currently hold long positions in Lululemon. Read our full disclosure policy here.