June 16, 2010, 2:59 PM

The web continues to shine for LuLuLemon

Web sales topped $9 million in the first quarter.

LuLuLemon Athletica Inc., a manufacturer of yoga-inspired athletic apparel for women and men, saw first quarter sales leap across its retail channels. The Vancouver, BC-based company launched its e-commerce site near the end of Q1 of 2009 and plans to grow the online business.

“We continue to be very excited about our e-commerce opportunity,” Christine Day, president and CEO, told analysts on the company’s first quarter earnings call. “Our direct-to-consumer business is now 6.6% of our revenue and a key growth vehicle for the company. We are investing an additional site performance and online community web strategies in the second half of the year, as well as additions to our merchant and planning team to ensure better inventory flow to this channel.”

For the first quarter of 2010 ended May 2, LuLuLemon Athletica reported:

  • Online sales were $9.14 million, a 952% increase from $869,000 in the first quarter of fiscal 2009. All amounts are in U.S. dollars.
  • Total sales were $138.3 million, up by 69.3% from $81.7 million in the prior year.
  • Comparable-store sales increased 35%.
  • Net income was $19.6 million, compared with Q1 2009 net income of $6.5 million.

The company’s e-commerce site comprises substantially all of its direct-to-consumer business, which until last year was conducted by telephone, says LuLuLemon Athletica, No. 398 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

The web represented 4% of company revenue in fiscal 2009 and less than 1% of total sales in fiscal 2008, according to LuLuLemon Athletica’s 10Q statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Selling, general and administrative expenses were $41.9 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2010, a 66% increase from $25.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2009. Administrative costs, primarily associated with the launch of the company’s e-commerce site, were $2.3 million, or 5.5% of total expenses, the 10Q document noted.

Regarding future sales growth, “our first priority remains growing existing stores,” Day told analysts. “Our second is e-commerce and our third is new store openings. We have opened four stores in the first quarter in North America. We have also opened 14 showrooms in Q1 and will open 30 more between Q2 and Q3 for 44 new showrooms being added this year to the 14 existing at the end of 2009.”

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