L Brands Inc.’s second-quarter profits increased 24.7 percent on rise in revenues, but the company warned comparable-sales trends at Victoria’s Secret could slow going into the second half.
Net income for the quarter rose to $252 million, or 87 cents a diluted share, up from $202 million, or 68 cents, a year ago. Adjusted earnings per share came in at 70 cents per share, which was above the 59 cents FactSet had projected. That helped pushed the stock up over 1 percent to $75.25 in after-hours trading.
Net sales for the three months ending July 30 increased 5 percent to $2.89 billion from $2.76 billion a year earlier. It was in line with the FactSet estimate for sales of $2.89 billion.
Digital sales for Bath & Body Works grew by 21 percent, while digital sales for Victoria’s Secret grew 8 percent.
Comparable sales increased 3 percent with Bath & Body Works leading the way with a 5 percent increase and Victoria’s Secret up 2 percent. L Brands said to expect flat comps in the third quarter with lower comps at Victoria’s Secret. The company also warned that it would be facing headwinds in comps following the elimination of swim and apparel, which began earlier this year.
The company’s gross margin rate decreased by 180 basis points to 38.5 percent as an increase in real estate investments was partially offset by the elimination of catalog costs at Victoria’s Secret. L Brands also said it was more promotional in the bralette and sports bra categories for Victoria’s Secret.
The company did give an update on the changes at Victoria’s Secret, noting a new leadership team would be in place in the third quarter and that progress had been made in exiting the swim and apparel inventory.
L Brands is also repositioning its beauty business and expects to see results in the area decline as they make changes in the category. The company will also be more promotional in the beauty space and this will be reflected in the third-quarter gross margins.
The adjustments to second-quarter earnings included a pre-tax gain of $108.3 million related to a cash distribution from the Easton Town Center and a pre-tax charge of $35.8 million related to the early extinguishment of the company’s July 2017 notes.
Looking ahead, L Brands is projecting that the third-quarter earnings range from 40 cents to 45 cents per share. This is far below the Capital IQ estimate for 59 cents per share.
The company forecast net EPS of $3.79 to $3.94 for the full year. The adjusted range is forecast at $3.70 to $3.85, an increase over the previous guidance for $3.60 to $3.80. The Capital IQ estimate is for $3.66.
L Brands stock has declined 8 percent for the past year as it began a restructuring of its organization. But in the last month, the stock has lifted over 6 percent as investors feel more comfortable with the new strategy.
L Brands will be hosting a conference call regarding its earnings on Thursday morning.