L Brands, Inc. (LTD) March 2013 Sales Conference April 11, 2013 7:30 AM ET
Good morning, everyone. This is Amie Preston, Chief Investor Relations Officer, and this is Limited Brands' Sales Report for the 5-week period ending April 6, 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 5 weeks ended April 6, 2013, increased 6% to $894.8 million versus sales of $840.9 million for the 5 weeks ended March 31, 2012. Limited Brands March comps, on a calendar basis, were up 3%. The Easter shift into March this year negatively impacted March comps by 1 to 2 points.
The March merchandise margin rate was down slightly to last year. Inventories ended the month down 3% per square foot at cost versus last year.
Victoria's Secret March comps increased 2% on top of 10% last year, driven by strength in PINK bras and panties and Beauty. March began with a focus on our Fabulous collection and PINK Spring Break Essentials. The themes shifted mid-month to feature our Very Sexy collection, PINK yoga leggings and our PINK Major League Baseball collection.
The merchandise margin rate was roughly flat to last year with merchandise margin dollars increasing. April will begin with a continued focus on our Very Sexy collection and a focus on PINK'S multiway bustier bra. The themes will shift mid-month to featuring our Dream Angels collection and PINK's beach jersey.
At Victoria's Secret Direct, March sales were down 9% as growth in PINK, bras and sleepwear was offset by declines in the apparel category and shipping and handling revenue. The March merchandise margin rate was down to last year, driven by a timing shift in Secret Rewards redemptions into March as a result of the 53rd week last year and an increase in free shipping offers.
At Bath & Body Works, March comps were up 4%, driven by the performance of our Signature Collection, home fragrance and soap and sanitizer businesses. The merchandise margin rate for the month was flat to last year.
We began April with the Beautiful Day theme, which will continue through mid-month. We then transition to our Italy-inspired theme that features new and seasonal fragrances in Signature Collection, home fragrance and soaps and sanitizers.
At La Senza Canada, March comps were up 7%. The merchandise margin rate was down significantly to last year, driven by an unfavorable foreign currency impact.
In closing, we are projecting April comps to be up low-single digits, plus some positive impact from the Easter calendar shift.
Thank you for your continuing interest in Limited Brands.
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