(Filed Under Financial and General Interest News). August comparable store sales were up 3% at both Victoria’s Secret stores and Victoria’s Secret Direct, as well as 8% at La Senza lingerie stores in Canada, as parent company Limited Brands, Inc., (now known as L Brands, Inc.) reported rising net sales of $704.7 million for the four weeks ended Aug. 31, 2013, compared to net sales of $665.6 million for the four weeks ended Aug. 25, 2012.
Company wide, L Brands (which also owns Bath & Body Works and other properties) reported a “comparable store sales increase of 2 percent for the four weeks ended Aug. 31, 2013 compared to the four weeks ended Sept. 1, 2012.”
The company also “reported net sales of $5.489 billion for the 30 weeks ended Aug. 31, 2013, an increase of 5 percent compared to sales of $5.218 billion for the 30 weeks ended Aug. 25, 2012. The company reported a comparable store sales increase of 2 percent for the 30 weeks ended Aug. 31, 2013, compared to the 30 weeks ended Sept. 1, 2012.
In comments to investors that accompanied the release of the August results, Amie Preston, chief investor relations, noted that the 3% comparable store increase for the firm contrasted with an 8% rise during the same period last year. “The merchandise margin rate was about flat to last year,” she added. “Inventories ended the month up 8% per square foot at cost, in line with expectations. As a reminder, inventory reflects additional investments to support upcoming significant product launches at Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, and discontinued Body By Victoria product that will be cleared in the January semi-annual sale.”
At Victoria’s Secret stores, “August comparable store sales increased 3% on top of a 9% increase last year. The increase was primarily driven by strength in bras and panties. We began August with the continuation of the Body by Victoria bra and new Victoria fragrance launch. In addition, we featured the Pink Collegiate Pant collection and Wear Everywhere Bra. The month ended with a focus on our Fabulous Bra collection. The merchandise margin rate was up slightly to last year driven by the timing shift of the Body by Victoria launch, and the related GWP, out of August and into July this year.”
Preston added, “We began September with a continued focus on the Fabulous collection and fall’s sexiest scents. Pink will feature fashion leggings. At the end of the month, we will feature the Closeup Bra launch.” At Victoria’s Secret Direct, “August sales were up 3%, driven by strength in bras and panties. The merchandise margin rate was down significantly to last years, driven by increased promotional activity.”
At La Senza, the company’s Canadian lingerie division, “August comps were up 8%. The merchandise margin rate was down to last year, driven by foreign currency impact and cancellation charges.“
Overall, Preston concluded, the company is “planning for positive low single digit comps in September.”
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