Limited Brands, Inc. (LTD) February Sales Conference March 6, 2013 ET
Good morning, everyone. This is Amie Preston, Chief Investor Relations Officer, and this is Limited Brands' February sales report for the 4-week period ending March 2, 2013. As a matter of formality, I need to remind you that any forward-looking statements I may make today are subject to the Safe Harbor statement found in our SEC filings.
Total Limited Brands sales for the 4 weeks ended March 2, 2013, were $712.7 million versus sales of $653.9 million for the 4 weeks ended February 25, 2012. Limited Brands' February comps, on a calendar basis, were up 3%. The February merchandise margin rate was down to last year. Inventories ended the month down 1% per square foot at cost versus last year. Victoria's Secret stores' February comparable store sales increased 5% on top of 10% last year, driven by strength across the assortment. February began with a focus on Valentine's Day. Midmonth, we transitioned our focus to both Dream Angels and PINK's spring break essentials. At the close of the month, we launched our fabulous bra with a focus on its demi frame. The merchandise margin rate decreased versus last year, driven by strong response to our CRM and Gift with Purchase offers, and increased promotional activity versus last year. Merchandise margin dollars increased versus last year.
March will begin with a continued focus on our fabulous collection and PINK's spring break essentials. The themes will shift midmonth to our Very Sexy collection and PINK's yoga leggings.
At Victoria's Secret Direct, February sales were down 4%, driven by a reduction in clearance selling and a decline in the clothing category. The February merchandise margin rate was up significantly to last year. At Bath & Body Works, February comps were flat, impacted by negative traffic levels. The merchandise margin rate for the month was up to last year. We began March with the Fresh Picked market theme, which will continue through the middle of March. We then transition to our newest Signature Collection fragrance, Beautiful Day. At La Senza Canada, February comps were up 5% and the merchandise margin rate were roughly flat.
In closing, we are projecting March comps in line with our quarterly guidance of low single-digit before the impact of the Easter calendar shift. Easter Sunday falls into March this year versus April last year, negatively impacting March by about 2 comp points. Adjusting for this shift, we expect March comps to be roughly flat.
Thank you for your continuing interest in Limited Brands.
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