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The Limited - December Comps Are As Skimpy As...

|Includes: L Brands, Inc. (LB)

On the tape:

Limited Brands, Inc. reported a comparable store sales decrease of 2 percent for the five weeks ended Jan. 2, 2010, compared to the five weeks ended Jan. 3, 2009.  The company reported net sales of $1.660 billion for the five weeks ended Jan. 2, 2010, compared to net sales of $1.644 billion last year.

The company reported a comparable store sales decrease of 5 percent for the 48 weeks ended Jan. 2, 2010, compared to the 48 weeks ended Jan. 3, 2009.  The company reported net sales of $8.010 billion for the 48 weeks ended Jan. 2, 2010, compared to sales of $8.451 billion last year.

Sales and merchandise margin rates for the fourth quarter to date are above the company's initial expectations.  As a result, the company is raising its fourth quarter 2009 earnings guidance to $0.92 to $0.97 per share, versus its previous guidance of $0.71 to $0.86 per share.
Vicky's Secret comps were down 6%, driven by a later start to the post-holiday sale.  Could help January comps.  Net stores opened: 3.

La Senza's comps were down 4% with no real explanation given. Net stores closed: 22.

Bath & Body Works comps were up 4%, but the company has warned Jan comps could be hurt (5-10pts) by a shorter sale period.  Net stores closed: 5.

The company has done a decent job managing their inventories and have, as announced, increased margins.  Their Canadian expansion continues with 25 B&BW stores opened and 4 VS stores opened.

Stock is up 1% on the news, trending to its 52wk high ($20.08 set 12/23/09) and might be getting a little frothy with potentially weaker Jan comps coming.



Disclosure: Long LTD equity