Victoria’s Secret owner posts deeper than expected fall in March sales

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L Brands disclosed on Wednesday a sharper than expected fall in its March sales, but shares ticked higher after its Bath & Body Works business topped estimates.

The group said its comparable store sales, an important metric for retailers, fell 10 per cent in the five weeks ending on April 1. That was deeper than the 9.1 per cent decline Wall Street was expecting.

Like for like sales at lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret, its largest business unit by revenues, declined by 13 per cent, compared with estimates of a 10.8 per cent fall.

L Brands said the exit by Victoria’s Secret from swimwear and apparel reduced the brand’s comp. sales by 10 percentage points, and the company’s by 7pp. The later Easter holiday also posed a 2 – 3pp headwind to company comp. sales.

Bath & Body Works, which sells items like soaps and fragrances, fared better, posting flat March comp. sales. Wall Street had forecast a 2.2 per cent fall.

L Brands shares climbed by 2.1 per cent in pre-market trading.

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