Limited Brands, Inc. (LTD) November 3, 2011 ET
Unknown Executive -
This is Limited Brands' October sales report for the 4-week period ending October 29, 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 statements found in our SEC filings.
Total Limited Brands sales for the 4 weeks ended October 29, 2011, was $652.4 million versus sales of $617.3 million for the 4 weeks ended October 30, 2010. Limited Brands October comps were up 6%. The October merchandise margin rate was down to last year. Inventories ended the month up 2% per square foot at cost. Third quarter sales were $2.173 million versus $1.983 million last year, and comps were up 9%.
We now expect third quarter adjusted earnings per share to be between $0.22 and $0.24, versus our previous guidance of $0.17 to $0.22. We will report third quarter earnings after the close of the market on November 16, and our earnings call will be held November 17 at 9 a.m. Eastern Time.
At Victoria's Secret stores, October comps were up 9%. Sales growth was driven by strength across the assortment. We began October featuring the continuation of our Gorgeous bra and fragrance launch and PINK's campus pant. Midmonth featured our Very Sexy collection, coupled with the launch of our new Bombshell Seduction fragrance. We also featured the PINK Heartbreaker! Push-Up Plunge bra.
The merchandise margin rate was down to last year, driven by expected cost pressures in PINK and strong response to our gift-with-purchase programs. Merchandise margin dollars increased over last year.
Third quarter sales at Victoria's Secret stores were $941.6 million, and comps increased 13%. November selling activity features our Angels collection, complemented by a new Dream Angel scent, and the PINK Collegiate Collection.
At Victoria's Secret Direct, October sales were up 12%, driven by strength across the assortment. The October merchandise margin rate was down to [ph] last year driven by increased product costs. Third quarter sales at Victoria's Secret Direct were $276.9 million, up 8% to last year.
At La Senza, October comps were down 5%. The merchandise margin rate was down significantly to last year as La Senza combated traffic declines with incremental promotional activity, driving an improvement in conversion rates. Third quarter sales at La Senza were $92.9 million, and comps decreased 4%.
At Bath & Body Works, October comps were up 6%, driven by strong traffic and the performance of our home fragrance, anti-bac and Signature Collection categories, including performance in our seasonal collections. The merchandise margin rate for the month was down to last year, driven by cost increases and the changeover of our seasonal assortment. Bath & Body Works third quarter sales were $503.7 million, and comps were up 9%.
This week, we move to a traditional holiday-focused theme, which puts front-of-shop emphasis on holiday collections in the home fragrance, anti-bac and Signature Collection categories. This month will also feature the launch of our new Signature Collection fragrance, Be Enchanted.
In closing, we expect total company comps in November to be up low single digits.
Thank you for your continuing interest in Limited Brands.
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