(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). Victoria’s Secret and Pink comparable store sales in North America fell 12% in June, with the company insisting that almost all of the decline was due to “the exit of the swim and apparel categories.”
When the results for those brands’ direct sales were combined with the store comps, the decline in June was 17%. This indicates a huge (but unspecified) drop in the direct business. Such was the case in the first quarter of 2017 when the Victoria’s Secret and Pink’s store business fell 10% but the brands’ direct business fell by over 20%, pushing the combined store and direct business down to a decline of 12%.
In the quarter ended April 29, 2017 Victoria’s Secret and Pink North American store sales fell from $1.381 billion to $1.247 billion, while direct sales fell from $360 million to $286 million. Direct sales in the quarter were only about 19% of the $1.533 billion sales total for Victoria’s Secret and Pink.
A key factor in the ongoing, disproportionately large declines in the direct business is that in 2016 Victoria’s Secret gave up one of the key advantages it had had in the direct arena when it stopped publishing and mailing a print catalog. At that point it became just another firm competing for attention on the internet.
On a positive note, Amie Preston, chief investor relations officer at parent company L Brands, noted that at Victoria’s Secret “The merchandise margin rate was up to last year driven by improvement in the lingerie business related to less aggressive semi-annual sale pricing and the impact of exiting non-core business last year.”
L Brands as a whole, which also includes Bath & Body Works, La Senza lingerie and Henri Bendel, “reported net sales decreased 6 percent to $1.213 billion for the five weeks ended July 1, 2017, compared to net sales of $1.296 billion for the five weeks ended July 2, 2016. Comparable sales for the five weeks ended July 1, 2017, decreased 9 percent.” In addition, “The company reported net sales of $4.424 billion for the 22 weeks ended July 1, 2017, a decrease of 6 percent compared to net sales of $4.727 billion for the 22 weeks ended July 2, 2016. Comparable sales for the 22 weeks ended July 1, 2017, decreased 9 percent.”
Concluding remarks, Preston said of upcoming results, “We expect July total company comps to be down mid-single digits, which includes a negative impact from the exit of swim and apparel of about 4 points.”
She added that at Victoria’s Secret, “In July we will focus on delivering new fashion with our T-shirt bra. In Pink, we will focus on our Wear Everywhere bras.” — NM
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