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Lululemon Athletica reports strong first quarter

Captainless but not rudderless, activewear retailer Lululemon Athletica has posted a better than expected first quarter result as it continues searching for a new CEOe.

Net revenue increased by 25 per cent in the first quarter to US$649.7 million, while widening margins delivered a 130 per cent increase in income to $104.3 million.

The Canadian business is still without a CEO, following the shock departure of Laurent Potdevin in February, who allegedly behaved in an unprofessional manner. But this doesn’t appear to have slowed growth, with COO Stuart Haselden saying that momentum remained strong.

“Our first quarter results reflect the ongoing strength of our business and our continued focus on product innovation, global growth, digital acceleration, and, most importantly, investing in our people,” he said in a statement.

The result was achieved against an intensifying competitive backdrop, with the likes of Adidas, Nike and Gap’s Athleta all increasingly investing in the athleisure trend.

GlobalData MD Neil Saunders said Lululemon Athletica was cycling soft comps, but that it was clearly outperforming the market by a “considerable degree”.

“Lululemon still has a lot of untapped potential it can use to drive future results,” Saunders said. “These include international expansion and further penetration into menswear, where it has had much success but remains below-the-radar for many shoppers.”

Lulu opened seven stores during the first quarter, bringing its total count to 411.

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