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Victoria’s Secret, Pink July Comps Down 10%

(Filed Under Financial and General Interest News). Victoria’s Secret and Pink comparable sales in North America fell 10% in July and 14% for the full second quarter of 2017.

A key weakness for Victoria’s Secret has been its direct business, which declined 25.9% in the second quarter. One reason: the firm ceased publishing its iconic print catalog last year, leaving it with only the internet (along with everyone else) to compete for direct consumer sales.

Furthermore, it can be argued, the catalog had provided promotional value for the brand and its stores far beyond its contribution to direct sales. The two brands’ comparable store sales (which do not include the direct business), fell 9% in July and 11% for the second quarter in the U.S. and Canada.

Amie Preston, chief investor relations officer for parent company L Brands, said the 10% decline in the combined comparable sales for Victoria’s Secret and Pink occurred “as growth in the Pink business was more than offset by about a 5 point negative impact of exiting swim and apparel and a decline in the lingerie business.” She made no mention of the catalog. “The merchandise margin rate was up to last year, driven by the impact of exiting non-core businesses last year and an improvement in the beauty business.”

Total sales for Victoria’s Secret and Pink company owned stores in the U.S. and Canada fell 8% in the second quarter, from $1.469 billion in 2016 to $1.351 billion. Full results for L Brands, which include income figures, will be released on August 16.

The direct business for Victoria’s Secret and Pink in the quarter ended July 29, 2017 fell by $103 million, from $398.3 million for the same period in 2016, to $295.3 million (a decline of 25.9%). The brands’ direct business fell 23.2%, from $757.9 million for the six months ended July 30, 2016 to $581.8 million for the first fiscal half of this year.

The combined store and direct business for Victoria’s Secret and Pink in the U.S. and Canada in the second quarter was $1.646 billion, down from $1.867 billion last year. For the first half, those sales were $3.179 billion, down for $3.608 billion for the first six months of fiscal 2016.

L Brands also includes La Senza lingerie (the sales for which the company lists separately), Bath & Body Works and Henri Bendel. The company also has stores in the U.K. and Greater China and sells its products in about 750 additional franchised locations worldwide.

In North America, “In August we will focus on new fashion in our Body By Victoria collection in the lingerie business and back to school in the Pink business,” said Preston.

“In closing, we expect August total company comps to be down low to mid single digits, which includes a negative impact from the exit of swim and apparel of about 2 points.” — NM

more Financial and General Interest News >>

Published 08-04-2017 by Nick Monjo

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