(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). December comparable sales for Victoria’s Secret and Pink stores in the U.S. and Canada were down 4%. For the first 11 month of their fiscal year through December (their full year runs through January 2017), sales were down 1%.
When the direct business for those brands is included, sales were down 4% in December and were flat through the end of 2016.
Meanwhile, at parent company L Brands, “December comps decreased 1%,” according to chief investor relations officer Amie Preston. She added that “Total L Brands sales for the five weeks ended December 31, 2016 were $2.438 billion, a 1% increase over sales of $2.415 billion for the five weeks ended January 2, 2016.” The company also owns Bath & Body Works, La Senza and Henri Bendel.
Speaking about the combined store and direct sales at Victoria’s Secret and Pink in the U.S. and Canada, Preston stated, “Strength in the Pink business was offset by declines in the exited categories of swim and apparel and the lingerie business.” She added, “Comparable sales excluding the non go-forward categories were down 1% to last year.”
For the two brands, “The merchandise margin rate was down significantly to last year, primarily due to promotional events to drive traffic and to proactively manage inventory. In addition, margin rate was unfavorably impacted by a decline in beauty as we reposition this category.”
Looking to 2017 she said, “January will begin with a continuation of our semi-annual sale. At the end of the month we will focus on Valentine’s Day,” adding, “We expect comps for the total company in January to be about flat.”
The company released a chart showing that in the 11 months through December 31, 2016 it had opened 17 and closed six Victoria’s Secret stores in the U.S., raising the total to 1,001. It also opened six and closed one Pink store in the U.S., raising the total to 133. During the same period the company maintained 37 Victoria’s Secret and nine Pink stores in Canada. There are four new La Senza stores in the U.S., and L closed one of those stores in Canada, dropping the total there to 125.
During 2016 the company opened three Victoria’s Secret stores in the U.K., raising the total to 15, as well as opening one Pink store, raising the total there to three. — NM
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