(Filed Under Financial and General Interest News). “Victoria’s Secret North America March comparable store sales decreased 1%,” according to Amie Preston, chief investor relations officer at parent company L Brands.
But the company had previously announced it expected the drop because of “the shift of the Easter holiday shopping pattern out of March and into April this year.” Meanwhile L, in a company statement, “reported net sales increased 3% to $923.7 million for the five weeks ended April 5, 2014, compared to net sales of $894.8 million for the five weeks ended April 6, 2013.” L’s other divisions include Bath & Body Works, La Senza and Henri Bendel.
L Brands also “reported net sales of $1.674 billion for the nine weeks ended April 5, 2014, an increase of 4% compared to sales of $1.607 billion for the nine weeks ended April 6, 2013. The company reported flat comparable store sales for the nine weeks ended April 5, 2014, compared to the nine weeks ended April 6, 2013.”
At Victoria’s Secret Direct, which includes the brand’s on line and catalog businesses, “March sales were up 1% as growth in bras, panties Pink and sport was partially offset by declines in apparel and swim,” according to Preston. She added that for its direct business, “the March merchandise margin rate was down to last year driven by incremental promotional activity and increased free shipping offers.”
At the North American Victoria’s Secret stores, “March began with a continued focus on our T-shirt bra and on Pink spring break. Mid-month we shifted our focus to our Very Sexy collection,” said Preston. The latter line of lingerie is identifiable by the vast number of superfluous straps across the collection, several extra ones added to every piece.
At VS stores, “the merchandise margin rate was about flat to last year. Merchandise margin dollars increased versus last year.” Preston continued that “April will begin with a continued focus on our Very Sexy collection and the Pink Date Racerback Push Up Bra. Mid-month, we will shift our focus to our Body by Victoria collection.”
In closing her review of March, Preston noted that the move of Easter into this month “will positively impact April, and therefore we expect April comps to be up mid single digits. We expect comps for the March/April time period combined will increase in the low-single digit range, consistent with our guidance for the quarter.”
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