Lululemon Athletica reported a big jump in fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday, with net revenue doubling, as demand for its trendy yoga wear increased despite a retail slowdown in North America.
The company also said it would suspend its operations in Japan -- where it has four stores through a joint venture -- because it consumed "a disproportionate amount of management time and attention over this past year."
The closures, expected by the second quarter, will lead to a charge of 2 cents a share in fiscal 2008. The company added that it expects to earn 70 to 72 cents a share this year.
The company also said its chief executive, Robert Meers, planned to retire in June and will be replaced by Christine Day, who will serve as CEO designate as well as president and chief operating officer.
Lululemon's profit was $14.6 million, or 21 cents a share for the quarter, up from $887,000, or 1 cent a share, in the same period a year-earlier.
Revenue in the period ended Feb. 3 beat expectations, up 101 percent at $105.1 million.
Analysts were expecting an average earnings per share before exceptional items of 19 cents and revenue of $93.2 million.
Gross profit as a percentage of revenue rose to 54.1 percent in the quarter, compared with 51.4 percent.
Sales at stores open at least a year grew by 41 percent. Adjusted to exclude the effect of the strong Canadian dollar, sales jumped 24 percent.
lululemon athletica inc.is self-described as a yoga-inspired athletic apparel company — produces a clothing line and runs international clothing-stores from its company base in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In addition to yoga-wear, lululemon athletica offers clothing for running, cycling, hiking, rock climbing, and other sports.
The company also offers yoga-oriented props and accessories, such as mats, straps, and blocks. Customers also wear most lululemon garments as casual and fashion-wear outside of an athletic context.
Lululemon plans to open 35 new stores in the United States this year, at the top end of its previous guidance.