Stronger consumer spending and confidence failed to perk up sales at Victoria’s Secret during the key holiday shopping season.
Shares in parent company L Brands dropped as much as 10 per cent in pre-market trading on Thursday after it reported yet another decline in sales at its flagship lingerie business in December.
Same store sales at Victoria’s Secret fell 1 per cent last month. Stripping out online sales, the decline was steeper, some 6 per cent, at the brand’s brick and mortar stores.
While overall net sales and like for like sales increased 3 per cent and 1 per cent during the period thanks to gains at Bath & Body Works, L Brands’ home and personal care chain, Victoria’s Secret remains by far the company’s most important business unit.
The lingerie retailer accounted for 62 per cent of the $12.6bn total sales reported by the group last year. However the once high flying brand has struggled in recent years amid mounting competition from the likes of American Eagle Outfitters, Gap and Lululemon in the bra and underwear space.
A decision to to ditch its swim and apparel offerings has also weighed on like-for-like sales.
The lackluster holiday performance at Victoria’s Secret means the company now expects fourth quarter earnings per share of about $2.00, compared to its previous guidance of $1.95 to $2.10. The figure excludes the effect of significant one-time items, including the impact of tax reform legislation, it said.
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