(Filed Under Financial and General Interest News). According to Amie Preston, chief investor relations officer at Limited Brands (which is now calling itself L Brands), Victoria’s Secret “March comparable sales increased 2% on top of 10% last year driven by strength in Pink bras and panties and beauty.” Overall, for all its stores and brands, Limited “reported a comparable store sales increase of 3 percent for the five weeks ended April 6, 2013, compared to the five weeks ended April 7, 2012.”
Things were not as good at Victoria’s Secret Direct where, according to Preston, “March sales were down 9%, as growth in Pink bras and sleepwear were offset by declines in the apparel category and shipping and handling revenue. The March merchandise margin rate was down to last year, driven by a timing shift in Secret Rewards redemptions into March as a result of the 53rd week last year, and an increase in free shipping offers.”
At La Senza, the chain of Canadian lingerie stores now part of the firm, “March comps were up 7%. The merchandise margin was down significantly to last year, driven by an unfavorable foreign currency impact.” Preston added that “we are projecting April comps up low single digit, plus some positive impact from the Easter calendar shift.”
At Victoria’s Secret stores, “March began with a focus on our Fabulous collection and Pink’s spring break essentials. The themes shifted mid-month to feature our Very Sexy collection, Pink yoga leggings and our Pink Major League Baseball collection,” according to Preston. “The merchandise margin rate was roughly flat to last year with merchandise margin dollars increasing. April will begins with a continued focus on our Very Sexy collection and a focus on Pink’s Multiway Bustier Bra. The themes will shift mid-month to featuring our Dream Angels collection and Pink’s Beach Jersey.”
In addition to Victoria’s Secret and La Senza, Limited Brands also owns such brands and stores as Pink, Bath & Body Works and Henri Bendel, and operates 2,617 specialty stores in the United States. Its brands are “sold in more than 700 company-operated and franchised additional locations world-wide” according to the firm.
For the five weeks ended April 7, 2012 the company as a whole reported net sales of $894.8 million, an increase of 6% compared to net sales of $840.9 million for the five weeks ended March 31, 2012. Comparable store sales for all divisions combined showed an “increase of 3 percent for the nine weeks ended April 6, 2013, compared to the nine weeks ended April 7, 2012. The company reported net sales of $1.607 billion for the nine weeks ended April 6, 2013, compared to sales of $1.495 billion for the nine weeks ended March 31, 2012.”
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