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As shoppers returned to stores and e-commerce sales have continued to grow, Lululemon Athletica Inc. reported on Thursday that its first-quarter revenue grew by 88 per cent.

The Vancouver-based retailer reported total revenue of US$1.2-billion in the quarter ended May 2, compared to US$652-million in the same period last year.

While many retailers’ sales were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lululemon’s results also represent a significant jump compared to the first quarter of 2019, when it reported US$782.3-million in revenue.

The company also announced on Thursday that it will be bringing its at-home fitness service Mirror to Canada later this year. Lululemon bought the business for US$500-million last June, and has been selling Mirror devices – a mirror with a built-in screen that streams live and on-demand fitness classes – online and in some stores in the U.S. The company is hoping that the fitness platform will also attract more shoppers to the apparel brand, and has already seen people who were not already Lululemon customers buying the devices.

The pandemic led to surging demand for the kind of athletic wear that Lululemon sells, as well as for home-fitness equipment. Mirror generated US$170-million in sales for Lululemon in 2020, exceeding expectations, and the company expects US$250-million to US$275-million in sales this year.

E-commerce sales for the athletic-wear maker rose by 50 per cent in the quarter, compared to a 70-per-cent surge in the same period last year, when COVID-related store closures drove more shoppers online. As it begins to compare sales to periods last year when the height of the pandemic fuelled more e-commerce growth, Lululemon is expecting a modest decline in online sales in its second quarter, and modest growth for the rest of the year.

“We are committed to stores,” chief executive officer Calvin McDonald said on a conference call Thursday to discuss the results, adding that the company is seeing real estate opportunities, as permanent store closures have led to vacancies in some locations. Lululemon has 523 brick-and-mortar stores globally, and expects to open 45 to 55 net new stores this year.

“We will continue to be opportunistic in grabbing these locations as they become available,” Mr. McDonald said. In the future, he said he expects Lululemon’s business will be evenly split between North America and international markets.

The company’s net income grew to US$145-million or US$1.11 per share, compared to US$28.6-million or 22 cents per share last year.

Chief financial officer Meghan Frank said that the company is raising its estimates for the year as a result of its strong first-quarter results and continuing momentum in its second quarter.

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