(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). Victoria’s Secret and Pink comparable store sales in the U.S. and Canada rose 4% in February. Meanwhile during the month, the company opened two new locations, raising the total in the U.S. to 992.
Parent company L Brands, which also includes Bath & Body Works, La Senza lingerie stores, Henri Bendel and income from “700 additional non-company-owned locations worldwide,” reported “net sales of $849.3 million for the four-week period ended February 27, 2016, an increase of 5% compared to net sales of $806.1 million for the four-week period ended February 28, 2015.”
For the first time in recent months L Brands did not provide separate sales results for its direct business. Instead it reported that the combined comparable store and direct sales for Victoria’s Secret and Pink stores in the U.S. and Canada had also risen 4% in February. In January it reported its North American comparable lingerie store sales had decreased by 4% while its direct business had risen by 21% versus the same month in 2015.
Amie Preston, chief investor relations officer, said the 4% increase at the North American Victoria’s Secret and Pink stores in February, was “driven by strength in panties, Pink bras and Pink apparel.” There are now 128 Pink stores in the U.S. and nine in Canada, compared to 992 Victoria’s Secret stores here and 37 in Canada.
Preston noted that at those stores, “Merchandise margin dollars increased versus last year. The merchandise margin rate was down to last year. The decrease to last year was primarily driven by a decline in beauty as we reposition this category. In addition, margin rate was unfavorably impacted by FX in our Canadian business.”
Looking ahead, the investor relations officer said, “In March, we will continue our focus on spring break and delivering new fashion with our Body By Victoria launch and introduction of our new Pink push-up bralette.” She pointed out that “Easter is one week earlier than last year, and Easter Sunday shifts into March and out of April. We expect that this shift will have a negative impact to March comps of about 1 to 2 points, and therefore we expect March comps to be flat to up low single digits. We expect comps for the March/April time period combined will increase in the low-single digit range.”
As usual, L Brands did not disclose comparable sales results for its La Senza Canada lingerie stores, but it did reveal that it had closed one in February, dropping the total to 125. Over the past seven year, the company has closed more than half of the La Senza stores it operates in Canada. As of January 31, 2009 there were 322 stores there. L Brands completed its takeover of La Senza in 2007.
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