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Sometimes, the key to believing in a company is being passionate about its product. So when that company proves it's not simply creating good merchandise, but it is also listening to customer feedback, it can be enough to boost Wall Street's conviction in its stock.
In a research report that doubled as a "personal fashion note," Citi analyst Paul Lejuez on Friday lifted his target price for buy-rated Lululemon, to $89 from $78. Lejuez cited his increasing confidence in the brand's ability to successfully execute on its growth initiatives, which include cultivating its men's business.
Lululemon shares are up close to 48 percent this year and were slightly higher, closing at $77.65 on Friday.
"I'll just admit it, Lulu's Commission and ABC pants are the most comfortable pants I own," Lejuez wrote. "Even better, they look like chinos/khakis, so I could wear them to work, except for one thing ... there is a black logo on the side of the knee. "
In a sign that the brand is listening to male feedback, Lululemon earlier this year tweaked the logo on these pants to be beige, so that it doesn't stand out, Lejuez said. And at checkout, the company started putting men's purchases into black bags, as opposed to the easily identifiable red ones they give women.
For Lejuez, these seemingly simple changes show the brand is "serious about connecting with a male customer."
"If they got rid of the logo on men's pants, I think it could open up a whole new market," he wrote.
Persuading more men to try gear from Lululemon, a brand that's rooted in its women's assortment, is crucial for the label to achieve its goals. In an exclusive interview with CNBC last week, CEO Laurent Potdevin reiterated the company's goal to grow its men's business to $1 billion by 2020. According to Jefferies estimates, that's double its current size.
Lululemon's men's business has been expanding comparable sales by greater than 15 percent over the past six quarters, aided by new products and a better presentation in stores, Jefferies analyst Randal Konik said. The company is adding 20 percent more square footage to several of its stores to create a dedicated men's area, with seven of those upgrades planned for this year, Konik said.
"When the guys try our product on, they love it," Potdevin said.
Still, not everyone is a believer. Though he admitted to owning some Lululemon product, retail consultant Jan Kniffen told CNBC last week that it will be an uphill battle for the brand to steal customers from Nike or Under Armour, which are rooted in the men's business.
"They are not going to supplant Nike, they are not going to supplant Under Armour," said Kniffen, who is also a CNBC contributor. "It's a lot easier for Nike to take women's business from Lulu or Under Armour to take women's business from Lulu than it is Lulu to take men's business [from them]."