Limited Brands Inc.
), a specialty retailer of women's intimate and other apparel,
beauty and personal care products, posted solid comparable-store
sales growth of 9% for the five-week period ended Feb 2, 2013,
that betters analysts' expectations.
We observed that the rate of growth in comps for this Zacks
Rank #3 (Hold) stock accelerated from an increase of 5% and 3%
registered in Nov and Dec 2012, respectively. Management now
projects comparable-store sales to rise in the low single-digits
in Feb 2013.
Comparable-store sales for January increased 8% at Victoria's
Secret Stores & Victoria's Secret Beauty, 15% at La Senza and
10% at Bath & Body Works & The White Barn Candle Co.
However, sales dropped by 5% at Victoria's Secret Direct.
Limited Brands, which competes with
), said that net sales for January surged 27.4% to $986.4 million
from $774.5 million posted in the comparable prior-year month.
The last week of the period ended Feb 2, 2013 added sales of
approximately $125 million.
Jan 2013 was strong on the whole for most retailers, with
players such as
Stage Stores Inc.
) registering comparable-store sales growth of 13.3%, 11.4% and
In terms of performance, Limited Brands, the operator of 2,619
specialty stores in the United States, fared better than its
), which posted comparable-store sales growth of 8%.
Limited Brands' comparable-store sales climbed 5% for the
14-week fourth quarter ended Feb 2, 2013. Net sales surged 9.7%
to $3,856 million for the period compared with net sales of
$3,515 million last year. The year-ago period sales included
$13.1 million from a third-party apparel sourcing business that
was sold in Nov 2011. Management expects fourth-quarter fiscal
2012 earnings to be $1.73, which is in line with the Zacks
Comparable-store sales for the 53-week period increased 6%,
whereas net sales rose marginally by 0.9% to $10,459 million from
$10,364 million in the year-ago period. The last year period
sales included $702.4 million from a third-party apparel sourcing
business that was sold in Nov 2011.
The company's 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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