Lady Gaga and Kendall Jenner might have helped give Victoria’s Secret a boost at the brand’s annual fashion show in Paris Wednesday, but it was sales trends that aided parent-company L Brands Inc. on Wall Street.
Shares of the firm rose 2.8 percent to $72.21 in midday trading Thursday after the company said its comparable sales rose 4 percent last month, with a 5 percent increase at Victoria’s Secret and a 4 percent rise at Bath & Body Works.
Excluding the swim and apparel businesses, which Victoria’s Secret is phasing out of in order to focus on core lingerie offering, the brand’s comps rose 8 percent.
The company’s total sales for the month rose 7 percent to $1.25 billion — about half of what it expects to pull in this month. L Brands is looking for December comps to be flat to up by a percentage in the low single digits.
Leslie Wexner, L Brands’ longtime chief executive officer, took direct control of Victoria’s Secret and is refocusing the brand on its lingerie offering amid a big international push.
He told investors last month that L Brands is at an “inflection point” and that Victoria’s Secret was now on the right path. (The firm overall is projecting sales growth of 7 percent to 10 percent, starting in the second half of next year as it cycles through the merchandising changes and weens itself off promotions.)
“We had to make changes and in hindsight, the changes that we have made I wish we had taken those actions two years ago, or three,” Wexner said. “In hindsight, there was ample opportunity to change things dramatically.”
Victoria’s Secret is one of the few that continues on the ritual of reporting sales each month and is also one of the stronger players in the mall.
The once-red hot The Buckle Inc., on the other hand, reported a 16.2 percent decline in November comps and saw it stock fall 1.1 percent to $25.02.
Gap Inc. will weigh in with its monthly after the market closes.