Limited Brands Inc.
), a specialty retailer of women's intimate and other apparel,
beauty and personal care products, posted comparable-store sales
growth of 3% for the five-week period ended Apr 6, 2013, that
betters analyst expectations.
However, we observe that the rate of comps growth in March for
this Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) stock remained constant with that of
February, but decelerated sharply from an increase of 9% in Jan
2013. Management now projects comparable-store sales to rise in
the low single-digit for the month of April, and hinted that with
early Easter on Mar 31 this year versus Apr 8 in the previous
year would favorably impact April comps.
Comparable-store sales for March increased 2% at Victoria's
Secret Stores & Victoria's Secret Beauty, 7% at La Senza and
4% at Bath & Body Works & The White Barn Candle Co.
However, sales dropped 9% at Victoria's Secret Direct.
Limited Brands, which competes with
), said that net sales for March rose 6% to $894.8 million from
$840.9 million posted in the comparable prior-year month.
For the nine-week period ended Apr 6, 2013, comparable-store
sales jumped 3%, whereas net sales rose 7.5% to $1,607 million
from $1,495 million in the year-ago period.
As a whole, Mar 2013 was tough for most retailers as
unfavorable weather conditions, higher taxes and sluggish
recovery in the labor market hurt consumers' enthusiasm. The
retail chains like
The Cato Corporation
The TJX Companies, Inc.
) witnessed comps decline of 11% and 2%, respectively.
However, analysts are of the view that the calendar shift in
Easter and expected fall in gasoline prices coupled with tax
refunds that are gradually making their way in, could lead to a
rise in discretionary spending and in turn better comps in April.
Limited Brands' Bath & Body Works segment is gaining
traction, driven by a rise in store transactions, enhancement in
the direct channel business and new stores. Victoria's Secret
Stores have been performing well, and the company is revamping
its La Senza brand alongside.
Limited Brands is keen on augmenting its retail footprint
across the globe by expanding aggressively in Canada and other
international markets. Moreover, the company's strong liquidity
positions it for growth and higher returns. However, stiff
competition and erratic consumer behavior still remain matters of
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