L Brands Inc. stock got slammed Thursday, falling more than 12 percent to $70.53 after the company reported same-store sales that fell 1 percent in April, missing the Thomson Reuters estimate for an increase of 4.8 percent.
L Brands said net sales increased 2 percent to $737.5 million for the four weeks ending April 30, compared with net sales of $724.6 million for the four weeks ending May 2, 2015.
Thomson had estimated that April sales at Victoria’s Secret would grow by 4 percent and instead they fell by 1 percent. Bath & Body Works was forecast to report a sales increase of 6.1 percent in April, but delivered an increase of only 5 percent.
“We believe softening demand, particularly at the Victoria’s Secret brand, is likely to pressure earnings power near term,” said Credit Suisse analyst Christian Buss. He lowered his price target from $90 to $85, but he kept his neutral rating.
He also lowered his fiscal year revenue estimate to $12.7 billion from $12.8 billion and he trimmed his earnings per share to $4.06 from $4.16. He did the same for fiscal year 2017 as he dropped the revenue estimates to $13.4 billion from $13.43 billion and cut the earnings per share to $4.48 from $4.54.
He was encouraged by the company’s efforts to focus on digital commerce and aggressive international expansion. Even with those initiatives, Buss said, “We remain cautious on traditional specialty retailers with outsize store footprints in light of the ongoing purchasing shift to the online channel.”
L Brands has 3,038 owned stores, 90 percent of which are in the U.S. The company acquired 26 and opened 1 VSBA stores in April. Buss noted that this was the most aggressive push he had seen from the company as it seems to be getting more serious about its international expansion.
L Brands said that it expects to report adjusted first-quarter earnings per share at the high end of the range of its previous guidance of 50 to 55 cents. The Capital IQ estimate for the first quarter is for 56 cents a share. Buss also felt it was light in comparison to investors expectations.
The company is set to report its first quarter earnings on May 18.