* Q4 EPS $0.74, previous forecast was $0.71 to $0.73/share
* Lululemon CEO says calendar “compressed” holiday season
Jan 14 (Reuters) - Canada’s Lululemon Athletica Inc said on Monday it expected to show a sharp slowdown in sales at its established yoga-wear shops for the quarter that includes the crucial holiday shopping season and its shares tumbled.
The company, which updated its quarterly guidance after regular stock-market trading, sees same-store sales growth “in the high single digits” - well below the 26 percent growth in the comparable quarter last year.
While that is identical to the company’s forecast when it reported third-quarter earnings on Dec. 6, the update came as a surprise to the market. Lululemon tends to be conservative in its outlooks and many expected the retailer to outperform its initial expectation.
The Nasdaq-listed stock dropped 7.3 percent to $67 after the bell. The shares slid even though Chief Executive Chistine Day said gross margins were slightly ahead of forecast and inventory trends were favorable. The company did not disclose specific figures for either metric.
The bottom line appears strong as well. Lululemon expects to post earnings of 74 cents a share for the fourth quarter to Feb. 3, well above the 51 cents a share reported for the quarter last year. It previously forecast earnings between 71 and 73 cents a share.
Lululemon sees revenue “at the high end” of its previous forecast range of $475 million to $480 million. Revenue in the fourth quarter a year earlier was $371.5 million.