June 8, 2012, 4:57 PM

Lululemon Athletica’s web sales race ahead by 179%

The athletic apparel retailer reports total Q1 sales climb 53%.

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Direct sales increased 179% to $38.4 million from about $13.8 million in Q1 2011.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. reported growth across the board and named two new top executives, including a new top manager for e-commerce.

For the quarter ended April 29, Lululemon, No. 162 in the 2012 Internet Retailer Top 500, reported:

  • Direct to consumer sales, which the company says are virtually all from the web, increased 179% to $38.4 million from about $13.8 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2011.
  • Total revenue for the quarter increased 53% to $285.7 million from $186.8 million.
  • Comparable-stores sales increased by 25%.
  • Net income of $46.9 million, a 40% increase from $33.5 million in the first quarter of 2011.
  • The Internet accounted for about 13.5% of total sales for the quarter, compared with 7.4% in the prior year.

“Our strategy to increase inventory levels led to strong revenue growth and earnings performance in the first quarter as our guests responded well to our spring styles and colors,” says CEO Christine Day.

The company continued its international expansion with the launch of an Australian e-commerce site on May 17, Day said yesterday in a conference call with analysts. Lululemon also plans to launch e-commerce sites for the United Kingdom and Hong Kong this year.

Lululemon recently named Paul Zaengle as senior vice president, global digital commerce, and Laura Klauberg, senior vice president, brand and community. Zaengle was vice president of e-commerce at Columbia Sportswear Co. (No. 257) and Klauberg was senior vice president of global media at consumer products manufacturer Unilever.

In addition to its e-commerce site, LululemonAthletic.com, the company has 180 stores in North America, Australia and New Zealand.

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