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Lululemon, the maker of upscale yoga pants and other trendy athletic gear, saw its shares dive nearly 18 per cent on Wednesday after it said it expects comparable sales to fall in its current fiscal quarter.

The company said it expects revenue in the range of $510m-$515m in the fiscal first quarter, and total comparable sales to decline in the low-single digit range. Diluted earnings per share for the period are expected to come in between 25c-27c, the company said.

“Although we’ve had a slow start to 2017, our teams are passionately committed to delivering on our robust plans across product innovation, digital, North America and international as we realize our ambitious vision for the future,” Lululemon chief executive Laurent Potdevin said in a statement.

The outlook comes as part of its release of quarterly earnings for the three-month period ending January 29, during which time its sales and profit were largely what Wall Street had expected. It said net revenue had risen 12 per cent on a year-on-year basis to $789.9m, compared to the $783.6m analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted.

During the quarter — which included the critical holiday shopping season — the Canadian company said net income totalled $136.1m, translating to diluted earnings per share of 99 cents, versus the $137.9m profit and $1 earnings per share analysts expected.

Comparable store sales during the quarter were up 6 per cent, better than the 5.25 per cent that had been expected.

Lululemon has previously reaped the gains of the booming “athleisure” industry that has seen people shopping for clothes they can wear on the streets and in the gym. But some analysts have warned in recent months that the trend may have a limited shelf life as denim starts to make a comeback, a possibly precarious omen for specialty retailers like Lululemon.

For the full fiscal 2017, Lululemon is guiding for net revenue between $2.5bn and $2.6n, with total comparable sales rising in the low-single digits, and diluted earnings per share in the $2.26-$2.36 range.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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