Lululemon reports strong year-end earnings, with net revenue up 21 percent over previous year

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      One of Vancouver's best-known public companies ended the year in robust financial shape.

      Lululemon athletica reported fourth-quarter net revenues 20 percent higher than the same quarter of the 2018 fiscal year, exceeding analysts' expectations.

      Comparable store sales were up nine percent and direct-to-consumer net revenue shot up by 41 percent in the quarter.

      On the year, the technical apparel maker posted net income of $645.6 million. That rose from $483.8 million in the previous year.

      Net revenue this year reached nearly $4 billion, up more than 20 percent from the previous year.

      Lululemon had 491 stores by the end of the fiscal year and $11 billion in cash and cash equivalents.

      However, since the fiscal year ended on February 2, lululemon has been rocked by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

      That month, it shut down all of its stores in mainland China, though all but one has since reopened.

      Then in March, it closed all lululemon stores in North America, Europe, Malaysia, and New Zealand.

      "We are now navigating an extraordinary environment, which is currently impacting our business," CEO Calvin McDonald said in a news release. "The strength of our brand and strong financial position will help us manage through the day-to-day, while continuing to effectively plan for and invest in our future."

      Lululemon shares closed the day on NASDAQ at US$200.80, up 3.71 percent on the day.

      The company has not offered any forecasts for this year, due to the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Lululemon's second-largest shareholder, according to its information circular from 2019, was the company's founder, Vancouver billionaire Chip Wilson, who owned 12.2 million shares at the time.

      That would translate today into US$2.44 billion.