L Brands Inc. and Zumiez inc. fared the best when it came to July sales with L Brands delivering upbeat results and Zumiez trimming its negative numbers. The Cato Corp. and The Buckle Inc. weren’t as positive as neither retailer seemed to be able to turn around declining sales.
L Brands recorded July net sales of $777 million for the four weeks ending July 30 for an increase of 2 percent over last year’s $759 million.
Comparable sales also increased 2 percent for the same period, although this is lower than last year’s comp-store sales increase of 3 percent. The positive takeaway was that it beat Thomson Reuters’ estimate of a same-store sales increase of 0.4 percent.
L Brands also said net sales for the past 13 weeks increased 5 percent to $2.89 billion over last year’s $2.77 billion. Comp sales for the past 13 weeks increased 3 percent.
Victoria’s Secret had flat comps versus last year. The growth in Pink and core lingerie was offset by declines in the categories that the company is closing. L Brands plans to exit the swim and apparel businesses. The beauty business also experienced declines and this is a department that the company is restructuring. Victoria’s Secret’s second-quarter sales jumped by 3 percent to $1.87 billion and comps rose by 2 percent.
Bath & Body Works delivered comps up 6 percent versus last year’s increase of 5 percent. The brand continues to be a hit with unfavorable currency headwinds from Canada. L Brands said second-quarter sales for Bath & Body Works increased 7 percent to $801.4 million and comps rose by 5 percent.
Looking ahead, L Brands said investors could expect to see flat comps in August. The retailer will focus on back-to-school for Pink and the new lounge bra at Victoria’s Secret.
L Brands will release its second-quarter earnings after the market closes on Aug. 17 and host a conference call the following morning. The company said it expects to deliver earnings per share at the high end of its range of 50 cents to 60 cents. The FactSet estimate for the second quarter is for earnings of 57 cents a share.
L Brands’ stock has dropped 10 percent for the past year, but in the last month has staged a comeback and risen more than 7 percent. It closed the day up by 29 cents to $72.81.
Cato’s same-store sales dropped 10 percent – a big miss from the Thomson’s estimate for a decline of 1 percent. Cato stock dropped more than 2 percent to close at $33.59. The Buckle also reported that its July sales fell 10.9 percent, short of the expected decline of 3.6 percent. Buckle stock closed down more than 5 percent to $24.99.
Zumiez July sales fell 2.9 percent, but this was better than the expected decline of 3.6 percent. Comp sales fell by 4.9 percent, ahead of the guidance for a drop of 6 to 8 percent. Zumiez also said earnings per share will be at the high end of the range or even slightly better than their projected range of negative 9 to negative 13 cents per share. Zumiez stock spent most of the morning in positive territory, but lost steam and closed down more than 2 percent to $17.10.