Call Start: 7:30 January 1, 0000 7:33 AM ET
L Brands, Inc.
December 6, 2018 7:30 AM ET
Amie Preston - Chief Investor Relations Officer
Good morning, everyone. This is Amie Preston, Chief Investor Relations Officer, and this is L Brand's November Sales report for the four week period ending December 1st, 2018. 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.
Net sales for the four week period ended December 1st, 2018 were $1.596 billion compared to net sales of $1.267 billion for the four week period ended November 25th, 2017. Comparable sales for the four weeks ended December 1st, 2018 increased 9% compared to the four weeks ended December 2nd, 2017. Sales growth of 26% on a reported basis versus the comp of 9% is driven by the calendar shift caused by the 53rd week last year.
As a higher volume week shifted into November this year on a reported basis and comps are on a comparable calendar basis. The November merchandise margin rate was down significantly to last year. Inventories per square foot ended the month down 3% versus last year, about three points of the decrease relates to the calendar shift caused by the 53 week year in 2017. Victoria Secret November comparable sales were up 2% driven by growth in lingerie and beauty, partially offset by a decline in Pink. Early holiday sales performance has been in line with expectations with a record Cyber Monday.
The merchandise margin rate was down significantly to last year, and below expectations driven by increased promotional activity. In December, we will focus on holiday gifting and newness in fashion. We are also excited for a product inspired by the recently aired Victoria's Secret Fashion Show including collaboration from Mary Katranzou.
At Bath & Body Works, November comps were up 18% driven by strong product acceptance. Sales for the month exceeded our expectations driven by record volumes on key days. We're pleased with the start to the holiday season. The merchandise margin rate for the month was down driven by the calendar shift. Promotional activity for the comparable calendar days was down to last year. December will feature new fragrances holiday collections and great gifts.
After Christmas, we will transition to our semi-annual sale theme. Thank you for your continuing interest in L Brands.
End of Q&A