Lululemon Athletica Shares Fall 13% After CEO Announces Surprise Resignation

While Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) just reported 1Q results, the numbers almost don’t matter. The company announced that CEO Christine Day, is stepping down from her role. The Board has begun a search for her replacement and Ms. Day plans to remain in her position until a successor is named. Many assume her pending departure is in some way related to the sheer pant issue. Ms. Day’s departure, along with the recent departure of the Chief Product Officer, continues to bring a new level of uncertainty to the Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU)story. The shares are off 13% in after-hours trading.

Lululemon Athletica Shares Fall 13% After CEO Announces Surprise Resignation

On the conference call, Christine Day -Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) – CEO stated on the matter:

Before we get into discussing the quarter, I would like to speak to the announcement we made today about my decision to step down from my CEO role here at lululemon. For me personally, being a part of lululemon over the past 5 1/2 years has been an incredible journey. I am proud of building a world-class team that has produced one of the best growth brand and profit stories in retail. The plans have been laid for the next 5 years, and a vision for the next 10. I feel that the timing is now right to bring in the next CEO candidate who will drive that 10-year vision. The Board has formed a search committee and is executing its CEO succession plan. While I will continue to lead the team until a successor is named, to ensure a smooth transition, in keeping with our efforts to be open and transparent, we are announcing this today so that the Board can openly search for the next CEO.

Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) earnings

Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) reported 1Q EPS of $0.32, compared to consensus of $0.30 and $0.32 last year. Comps were +7%, in-line with estimates and on top of +25% last year. Gross margin came in better-than-expected, declining 560 basis points.

Management provided 2Q and 2013 EPS guidance. For 2Q, management expects revenues to be in the range of $340 million to $345 million, driven by comps in the +5-7 range. EPS is expected to be in the range of $0.33 to $0.35. This compares to Street consensus of $0.33 and flat comp estimate for the quarter.

For the year, management now expects 2013 EPS to be in the range of $1.96 to $2.01, up slightly from their initial full-year guidance of $1.95 to $1.99. This compares to full-year estimates of $1.99.

The company ended the quarter with $588.4 million in cash and equivalents compared to $424.3 million at the end of 1Q:12.


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