(Filed Under Financial and General Interest News). February comparable store sales at Victoria’s Secret stores in North America were up 2% “driven by core lingerie and Pink,” while at Victoria’s Secret direct sales rose “1%, as growth in bras, panties, Pink, swim and sport was partially offset by a decline in apparel,” according to Amie Preston, chief investor relations officer at parent company L Brands, Inc.
Last year February sales were up 5% compared to the same month in 2012.
Meanwhile, L Brands itself (which also owns Bath & Body Works, La Senza and Henri Bendel) also reported an overall 2% store sales increase for the four weeks ended March 1 (compared to a similar period last year) with net sales rising to $750.0 million versus $712.7 million.
Preston noted that at Victoria’s Secret stores, “The merchandise margin rate increased versus last year driven by strength in full price selling slightly offset by strong response to our gift with purchase programs.” She added that “Merchandise margin dollars increased versus last year.” The same was not the case at Victoria’s Secret Direct where, “The February merchandise margin rate was down significantly to last year, driven by incremental promotional activity.”
Preston stated that L Brand “Inventories per square foot ended the month up 11% versus last year,” with the increase “driven by investments in core and sports bras at Victoria’s Secret.” She emphasized that the company expects “to end the first quarter with inventories per square foot up in the mid-single digit range and about flat by the end of the second quarter.”
Looking ahead, at Victoria’s Secret “March will begin with a continued focus on the T-shirt bra and Pink spring break and we’ll shift to feature our Very Sexy collection later in the month.”
At the time of the February sales announcements, L Brands reported that it currently “operates 2,919 company-owned specialty stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom and its brands are sold in about 600 franchised additional locations world-wide.”
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