Editors Note:

Retailers have been struggling in 2016 with declining sales and weak guidance. Heading into Q4, nothing has changed. Unless your name is Amazon, every quarter just continues to weaken.


No New Bullish Plays


LULU - Lululemon Athletica - Company Profile

Lululemon athletica inc., designs, distributes, and retails athletic apparel and accessories for women, men, and female youth. It operates through two segments, Company-Operated Stores and Direct to Consumer. The company offers pants, shorts, tops, and jackets for healthy lifestyle and athletic activities, such as yoga and running; other sweaty pursuits; and athletic wear for female youth. It also provides fitness-related accessories, including bags, socks, underwear, yoga mats, and water bottles. The company sells its products through a chain of company-operated stores; outlets and warehouse sales; a network of wholesale channel, such as yoga studios, health clubs, and fitness centers; license and supply arrangements; and showrooms, as well as directly to consumer through lululemon.com and ivivva.com e-commerce sites. As of January 31, 2016, it operated 363 company-operated stores. Company description from FinViz.com.

Unfortunately for LULU the athleisure sector is seeing even more problems than the retail clothing sector in general. For Q2, the company reported earnings of 38 cents that matched estimates and revenue of $514.5 million that missed estimates slightly.

The bad news came from customer traffic and guidance. Same store sales fell to 5% compared to 5.9% estimates. LULU guided for Q3 earnings of 42-44 cents and analysts were expecting 44 cents. In the comparison quarter sales rose 17% thanks to new products And expanding menswear line. Unfortunately, consumers are no longer excited by the athleisure sector.

Mall shoppers are dwindling and LULU's high priced designer yoga apparel is too expensive for current consumer budgets. Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, Macy's and Nordstrom's are all reporting declines in sales and closing stores. Everyone is fighting for that last consumer dollar and LULU is struggling to sell $100 yoga pants.

On Friday, Goldman Sachs cut its price target on LULU to $46 and reiterated a sell rating. The analyst believes the comps will decline to only 3% growth and full year earnings will drop to $2.28-$2.36 and analysts are expecting $2.51. He sees inventory turnover decelerating, weakening pricing power, slower traffic and slower online sales. The analyst expects LULU's core customer to branch out into less expensive competitive brands. Despite all the negatives LULU is still trading at a PE of 31 and far too high for the current outlook.

Earnings Dec 1st.

Shares crashed after the Q2 earnings to $66 where they held for three weeks. Multiple downgrades including the Goldman call last week have broken through that $66 support. Support from May is $60 and that is in danger of collapsing with $45 the next material target after a speed bump at $55.

Buy Dec $60 put, currently $3.35, initial stop loss $66.65
Sell short Dec $52.50 put, currently $1.03, initial stop loss $66.65
Net debit $2.32