Chip Wilson founded Lululemon Athletica Inc. (LULU) in 1998, after selling his Westbeach brand for $1 million. On a recent interview with Mike Ozanian of Forbes, Wilson said he was going to be a barista at Starbucks, but after spotting several trends—primarily highly educated, fashionable, and athletic women between the ages of 25 and 36 getting into yoga—he knew he had something.

Lululemon quickly became one of the fastest growing apparel brands in history, but there was a big misstep in 2013 with the company’s infamous see-through yoga pants. This misstep was amplified when Wilson said the pants “didn’t work on certain women’s bodies” during a Bloomberg interview. There were some other gaffes after that, including a fake ad for a Lululemon CEO, which received 160 applications. The positive here was that expectations had been lowered, which allowed Lululemon to surprise the street and rebound in 2015 and 2016. Wilson stepped down in February 2015, but he revealed earlier this year that he has a 14.2% stake in the company. This past summer, Wilson wrote an open letter to shareholders, stating: "Lululemon has lost its way and I believe a call to action is needed.” (See also, Lulemon Local Store Open on Black Friday)

Lululemon responded with the following statement: “Wilson has had no involvement with Lululemon since stepping down as chairman of the board in May 2014 and from the board of directors in February 2015.”

There is no way of knowing who is correct or incorrect about the company’s path going forward, but the numbers can provide a hint. Lululemon’s quarterly year-over-year revenue and earnings growth are 13.60% and 12.50%, respectively. The stock has also appreciated 21.96% over the past 12 months. Wilson might be correct over the long haul, but there doesn’t appear to be any significant and sustainable slowdown at Lululemon at this point in time. 

 

Want to learn how to invest?

Get a free 10 week email series that will teach you how to start investing.

Delivered twice a week, straight to your inbox.