Lululemon (LULU) shares are being ripped to shreds by 19% in pre-market trading on Thursday following a weak first quarter outlook.
The company said that it expects net revenue for the first quarter to be in the range of $510 million to $515 million based on a total comparable sales decrease in the low-single digits on a constant dollar basis. Earnings are expected to be in the range of $0.25 to $0.27 a share for the quarter. Analysts were looking for sales of $552 million and earnings of 39 cents a share.
The company said for the full year of 2017, it expects net revenue in the range of $2.5 billion to $2.6 billion based on a total comparable sales increase in the low-single digits on a constant dollar basis. Earnings are seen in the range of $2.26 to $2.36 a share for the full year.
The once hot Lululemon has been suffering of late from slowing sales. In early March, analysts at Canaccord speculated that the jig is up for Lululemon, according to a note, in which they wrote that the brand’s customers aren’t coming back in the same numbers.
Traffic is slow at Lululemon
For the forth quarter of 2016, net revenue increased 12% to $789 million, while comparable sales, which includes comparable store sales and direct to consumer, rose 8%. Excluding one-time items, diluted earnings per share were $1.00, below analyst estimates for $1.01 a share. The company pinned the blame for its earnings shortfall on fashion misses, particularly not having enough color in its assortment. Executives vowed to change that in coming months.
Nevertheless, Wall Street remains concerned.
“While many of its issues are company-specific, Lululemon’s results shed light on just how difficult the quarter-to-date retail environment has been,” wrote Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Trussell. “Management attributed the deterioration to insufficient color in its spring assortment and problems with visual merchandising on its website — yet, store traffic has slowed, proving that Lululemon is not immune to wider industry trends.
Trussell added, “Although guidance itself may have led investors to conclude that the Lululemon brand is no longer resonating or that athleisure is slowing, we believe commentary on the call bought the stock some time.”
Updated from March 29 with new details.