Limited Brands, Inc. (LTD) August 4, 2011 7:30 AM ET
Amie Preston - Vice President Investor Relations
Good morning, everyone. This is Amie Preston, Chief Investor Relations Officer, and this is Limited Brands July Sales Report for the 4-week period ending July 30, 2011.
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 July 30, 2011, were $660.4 million versus sales of $619.7 million for the 4 weeks ended July 31, 2010. Limited Brands July comps were up 6%. The July merchandise margin rate was up significantly to last year. Inventories ended the month down 1% per square foot at cost.
Total second quarter comps increased 9% and sales were $2.458 billion. We now expect second quarter adjusted earnings per share to be between $0.44 and $0.46 versus our previous guidance of $0.38 to $0.43. We will report second quarter earnings after the close of the market on August 17, and our earnings call will be held August 18 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time.
Now for the individual brand results. At Victoria's Secret stores, July comparable store sales increased 9%. Sales growth was driven by strength across the assortments. We began July in lingerie featuring the Incredible bra. In July week 3, we switched the focus to Body by Victoria bra.
In Pink's, July sales were highlighted by our successful launch of the Heartbreaker! bra. In Beauty, we began the month featuring our Incredible fragrance. In week 3, we transitioned to the relaunch of our Garden product line as VS Fantasies, with completely new packaging and the introduction of new scents.
The July merchandise margin rate was up significantly to last year, driven by increased full price selling. Second quarter comps at Victoria's Secret stores were up 12% and sales were $1.064 billion. August selling activity will focus on the showstopper bra launch in week 2 of the month. In addition, we will continue the VS Fantasies launch and Pink's back-to-school activity.
At Victoria's Secret Direct, July sales were up 5%, led by strong results in Swim, Pink, Dresses and Activewear, despite the fact that the semi-annual sale ended 7 days earlier than last year. The July merchandise margin rate was up to last year, driven by less promotional activity and better inventory management. Second quarter sales at Victoria's Secret Direct were $392.9 million, flat to last year.
At La Senza, July comps were up 2%, driven by the semi-annual sale and increased promotional activity versus last year. The merchandise margin rate was down significantly to last year, driven by a sales mix shift to the International Franchise business and to incremental promotional activity. La Senza's second quarter comp was up 1% and sales were $114.2 million.
At Bath & Body Works, July comps were up 2%, driven by the performance of our Signature Collection and Home Fragrance categories. The merchandise margin rate for the month was up slightly. Comps for the second quarter were up 4% and sales were $563 million.
In August, we continued the summer treat theme that focused on new fragrances in the anti-bac business and introduced an expanded Halloween assortment. In the middle of the month, we transitioned to the launch of our newest Signature Collection fragrance, Paris Amour.
In closing, we expect total company comps in August to be up low single digits. Thank you for your continuing interest in Limited Brands.
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