L Brands shares plunge on weak forecast, mixed holiday results

L Brands, owner of Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, on Wednesday reported mixed results in the holiday quarter that sent shares of the company down more than 5 percent.

Same-store sales at its Victoria’s Secret brand have struggled to keep up with changing tastes and new competition, and fell 3 percent.

The brand, which was once known for its sexy bras, has lost out as women have switched to more comfortable bra styles and brands that seem more inclusive from the likes of American Eagle‘s Aerie, Third Love, Lively and Adore Me. The $7.2 billion bra category is also seeing new competition from Target, which this spring plans to launch three new lines of lingerie and sleepwear.

Millennials, which comprise more than a third of the women’s intimate apparel market, spent a third of its bra dollars in 2018 on sports bras, according to retail trade group the NPD Group.

Bath & Body Works, meantime, continues to perform strongly. he fragrance and personal care shop grew same-store sales by 12 percent.

Dragged down by the weakness at Victoria’s Secret, L Brands same-store sales fell 3 percent in the latest period.

Here’s what the company reported compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: $2.14, adjusted, vs. $2.07 expected
  • Revenue: $4.85 billion vs. $4.88 billion expected

L Brands reported fiscal fourth-quarter net income of $540 million, or $1.94 per share, down from $664 million, or $2.33 per share a year earlier.

Excluding items, L Brands earned $2.14 per share, beating the the $2.07 per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

Net sales rose to $4.85 billion, missing expectations of $4.88 billion.

L Brands said it expects earnings for 2019 will fall between $2.20 and $2.60 a share. That includes break-even earnings per share result in its first quarter.

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