They did well this quarter, though - 6% growth and a 31% increase in e-commerce. A sharp analyst asked whether the uptick in e-commerce was due to weather (the northeast got hammered with snow this winter) and the website having a better product selection than the stores due to the port issues. The CFO said those two points were indeed factors and Potdevin also pointed out in the Q&A that the store backroom app (where eds use their ipod thingies to order for you from the warehouse) also fed into this number.
- The second half of the year should see a return to normal as to inventory and product flow (i.e., the ports issue backup will have dissipated by then).
- First quarter ended with elevated inventory - that means nice markdown racks and WMTM for us. They are planning an on-line warehouse sale in Q2 of the leftover holiday merch but I hope there is more.
- They are gong to re-launch the Pants Wall in Q3. I assume the Inspires being moved to on-line only is part of this. One of my eds was surprised to hear the Pace Rival is slotted to replace the Inspires. She said the Inspires are a best seller. On a tangential topic, she was asking what people thought of the replacement of the 105F with the What the Sport since people are asking for the 105F and the WTS are just filling the tank wall. The 105F/What the Sport is another SRB/CRB situation. I hope the 105F makes a comeback. People like the favorites for a reason.
- RE: the tank line - they are introducing higher support constructions, more diverse coverage options [Yay!], and a wider selection of fits. Halle-freaking-lujah! The thing that really hooked me into lululemon was their great tank selection and to see it decimated over the past few years killed me. The tank wall is set to be re-launched in the first half of 2016. I have to say I am optimistic given the new tanks that have shown up so far - the Amala, Wrap It Up, Inspiration Tank, Ace Tank, Scoop Back Tank, and Straight Up tanks - to name a few. Granted, a lot of the new tanks are on the short side so they have to fix that but I love the return of tanks made of full weight luon and other technical fabrics, more complex designs, and with a diversity of styling.
- They are re-designing the website and phase 1 will occur before the end of the year. It's supposed to have better product story telling and targeted product recommendations so I assume it's going to become more sophisticated like the Lucy or Athleta sites.
- In the Q&A, an analyst asked about the men's line and whether there will be more standalone men's stores and Potdevin's response was amusing: "...the one format we're most excited about right now is the expanded store where both men's and women's are co-located as our female guests shops a lot for him. I mean he does - our male guest does have a lot more permission [lol, is this a translation misspeak?] to come into the lululemon collective, but she still shops a lot for him. So the expanded format - the co-located format is the one that we're seeing tremendous results with." I've written before that my husband has no problem shopping at lululemon since there are often lots of nice looking women in tight stretchy clothes shopping and working there. I honestly think it's a pain in the ass to have two different stores if we're both out shopping together. It's not like the guy's stuff is jammed in a dark back corner and they have to wade through aisles of bras and panties to find it, it's always been right up front with the ladies. The dressing rooms are all together in the back in most stores but I can't see that being a deterrent to most men.
- Tara Posley (the Chief Product Officer), when asked about swim, seemed to indicate they've heard our response to the cheekiness of the bottoms and lack of coverage on the tops: "We have more opportunity to add additional coverage...offerings in swim, so we've had some good learning in the spring...we could see more upside and opportunity as we move into designing next year for 2016."
- Potdevin closed his remarks by saying they have shifted from playing defense to playing offense, to which I say, Game On! Let's see what you've got, we've been waiting.