L Brands, Inc. (LTD) May 2013 Pre-Recorded Sales Conference June 6, 2013 7:30 AM ET
Good morning, everyone. This is Amie Preston, Chief Investor Relations Officer, and this is Limited Brands' May Sales Report for the 4-week period ending June 1, 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 June 1, 2013, were $737 million versus sales of $671.9 million for the 4 weeks ended May 26, 2012. Limited Brands' May comps on a calendar basis were up 3%. The May merchandise margin rate was down to last year. Inventories ended the month down 2% per square foot at cost.
At Victoria's Secret stores, May comparable store sales increased 4% on top of 9% last year, driven by PINK. May began with a focus on our Multi-Way offerings, our PINK Lace Racerback and a focus on Mother's Day in Beauty. The themes shifted midmonth to our Flawless collection and our PINK summer dresses. The merchandise margin rate was up to last year driven by the calendar shift from last year's 53rd week as there were costs related to our May week 1 customer mailing that fell into April this year versus May last year. This increase was partially offset by strong customer response to our Angel card relaunch. Our semiannual sale will begin June 11 and is planned for the same duration as last year.
At Victoria's Secret Direct, May sales were up 4%, driven by a strong swim sale and the first days of the semiannual sale shifting into May versus June last year due to the calendar shift as a result of the 53rd week last year. Semiannual sale began May 29 this year and May 30 last year. The May merchandise margin rate was down significantly to last year, driven by the semiannual sale shift mentioned above and other promotional activity.
At Bath & Body Works, May comps were up 3% driven by the performance of our Signature Collection, home fragrance and soap and sanitizer businesses. The merchandise margin rate for the month was down slightly to last year. We will continue to feature our newest Signature Collection fragrance Pure Paradise and Lakeside-inspired home fragrance collection until mid-June when we transition to our semiannual sale. The length of the semiannual sale will be the same as last year. However, recognizing how promotional the marketplace is in July historically, we will continue with the presence of sale merchandise.
At La Senza, May comps were up 4%. The merchandise margin rate was about flat to last year.
In closing, we are planning June comps up in the low-single digit range. Thank you for your continuing interest in Limited Brands.
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