March 30, 2010, 12:00 AM

LuLuLemon.com hit its stride with online shoppers in 2009

Having only launched e-commerce in April, the web ended up accounting for 4% of total sales for LuLuLemon Athletica last year.

It was a banner start-up year online for specialty athletic apparel retailer LuLuLemon Athletica Inc. in 2009.

LuLuLemon, which only launched e-commerce in April, in 2009 achieved:

  • First year web sales of C$18.2 million (US$17.8 million).
  • Total sales increased 28.1% to C$452.9 million (US$443.9 million) from C$353.5 million (US$346.5 million) in the prior year.
  • Comparable-store sales increased 9.0%.
  • Net income was C$58.3 million (US$57.1 million), up 48.3% from C$39.3 million (US$38.6 million) in 2008.

LuLuLemon, a Vancouver-based multichannel retailer with more than 124 stores in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Hong Kong, launched e-commerce early in the second quarter as a way to build brand awareness and supplement its growing base of stores, the company says. But the retailer also found that e-commerce quickly resonated with its core customers: affluent women with active lifestyles including multiple fitness and sports interests. As a result, e-commerce accounted for 4.0% of total sales in 2009, the retailer says in its recently filed annual earnings statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

 

“The launch of our e-commerce site added incremental revenue and even more importantly created heightened brand awareness,” LuLuLemon CEO Christine Day told Wall Street analysts on the company’s recent year-end earnings call. “We have seen our e-commerce business really take off. The purchasing patterns are fairly similar to the retail stores with the exception of the men’s business which is still stronger in the stores than online.”

LuLuLemon doesn’t break out quarterly web sales, but in the fourth quarter recorded:

  • Total sales increased 54.6% to C$160.6 million (US$157.6 million) from C$103.9 million (US$101.9 million) in Q4 of the prior year.
  • Comparable-store sales increased 29.0%
  • Net income was C$28.5 million (US$27.9 million), up 161.5% from C$10.9 million (US$10.7 million) in Q4 2008.

“The addition of e-commerce to our direct-to-consumer sales channel has already expanded our customer base and supplemented our growing store base,” the retailer says in its year-end financial filing. “We plan to continue developing our web site to further reflect the distinctive retail experience that our customers enjoy in our stores while providing greater shopping flexibility.”

 

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