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Jun 1, 2017

Lululemon to close 40 Ivivva stores; shares rise as profit beats estimates

A Lululemon store logo is pictured on a shop in Santa Monica, California

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TORONTO -- Premium athletic apparel maker Lululemon Athletica Inc (LULU.O) on Thursday said it would close most of its Ivivva stores for girls and reported quarterly earnings that beat analysts' forecasts, sending it shares up 10 per cent.

Chief Executive Laurent Potdevin said sales exceeded the company's expectations at the beginning of the first quarter, thanks to stronger-than-expected sales of new products lines and fabrics.

The company reported adjusted per-share profit of 32 cents US in the first quarter ended April 30, beating the 27-cent-US-average forecast of analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue rose five per cent to US$520.3 million, beating the average forecast of US$514.1 million.

Total comparable sales fell one per cent, on a constant dollar basis, better than the average forecast for a decline of 1.9 per cent, according to Consensus Metrix.

The company said it would close 40 Ivivva stores, out of a total of 55, and expected to take US$50 million and US$60 million in Ivivva restructuring charges in fiscal 2017, including US$17.7 million posted in the first quarter.

It raised its forecast for full-year per-share profit to between US$2.28 and US$2.38, compared with previous guidance of US$2.26 to US$2.36.

The Vancouver-based company popularized the "athleisure" market, but its once stellar growth has been tarnished as rivals introduced less-expensive gymwear.