Plus, Ascena Retail Group sells its Maurices brand and earnings updates from Evine and Otto Group.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. reported a 45% increase for 2018 in direct-to-consumer sales, which are mostly ecommerce transactions. The athletic apparel retailer now generates 26% of its sales through the web, or $855.0 million, according to chief operating officer Stuart Haselden, up 48.5% from what Internet Retailer estimated it sold online last year.  Lululemon is No. 90 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000.

“We achieved three of our 2020 financial targets in 2018, two years ahead of schedule,” Haselden said in a call transcribed by Seeking Alpha. “We reported an operating margin of 21.5%, gross margin of just over 55% and our ecommerce penetration reached 26%.”

For the fourth quarter ending Feb. 3, online sales were up 39% year over year to $344.0 million. In the coming year, Lululemon plans to invest in international ecommerce operations with new websites in France, Germany, China, Japan and Korea. CEO Calvin McDonald said China in particular holds promise for increased digital sales, with penetration expected to eventually hit 50%, though he didn’t give a time frame for that goal.

In other earnings news:

  • Shopping channel Evine Live Inc. (No. 121) generated $316.8 million through ecommerce, which respresented 53.1% of total sales, according to its fourth quarter financial statement. Of those online sales, 54.0% were completed on a mobile device. Total and ecommerce sales for the year were down overall. Total sales fell 8.0% to $596.6 million from $648.2 million, while ecommerce fell 5.8% from $336.4 million. For the fourth quarter, which ended Feb. 2, ecommerce sales generated 54.9% of revenue, or $86.5 million. Total sales fell 18.2% year over year to $157.6 million from $192.7 million.
  • Otto Group (No. 80), owner of furniture retailer Crate & Barrel, generated 7.7 billion euro ($8.65 billion) online, according to its preliminary annual report, up 4.5% over last year’s ecommerce sales. Online sales rose 5.2% to 5.3 billion euro ($5.95 billion) in its native Germany, where Otto Group operates apparel stores.
  • Ascena Retail Group (No. 73), owner of Ann Taylor, Loft and other apparel brands, sold its Maurices brand to private equity firm OpCapita LLP for $300 million. However, the retailer will continue to operate back-end services, including the supply chain and sourcing, something it noted could be offered to other third parties as a revenue generating tactic.
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