L Brands Inc. logged a slow first quarter, but raised its outlook for the year, giving some comfort to investors who sent the stock higher.
The Victoria’s Secret operator saw first-quarter net income fall to $94.1 million compared to net income of $152.3 million a year ago. Sales declined 7 percent to $2.4 billion as comparable-store sales dropped 9 percent.
Earnings per share came in at 33 cents compared with 52 cents a year earlier.
The sales declines didn’t come as a shock considering L Brands has posted sizable drops every month this year and expects the trend to continue for May.
The company didn’t give much explanation for the tough quarter beyond pointing again to the exit of its swim category and much of its apparel, which it said negatively affected Victoria’s Secret comp sales by 6 percent.
Related severance charges, fabric cancellations and a write-off of catalog paper stemming from its decision last year to move away from its famed catalog to focus on e-commerce resulted in charges of $34.5 million during the quarter.
Nevertheless, L Brands did decide to raise its full-year earnings guidance slightly, saying earnings per share could come in as high as $3.40 from a previous expectation topping out at $3.35.
The move stood out in what has been a very tough stretch for retail and was enough for Wall Street, which sent the company’s stock up about 8 percent to $48.40 in after-hours trading Wednesday.
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