With consistent comparable-store sales driven by loyal customers to its Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works nameplates, L Brands Inc. posted third-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street expectations.
Net income rose 24.4 percent to $164 million, or 55 cents a share, from $131.8 million, or 44 cents, in the prior year on sales that gained 7 percent to $2.48 billion from $2.32 billion. Same-store sales for the quarter rose 7 percent. The gross margin rate gained 75 basis points to 41.56 percent.
Earlier this month, the company raised its third-quarter earnings estimate to a range between 51 and 53 cents a share, which compares to prior guidance of 40 to 45 cents. Analysts had the company pegged to post earnings per share of 52 cents.
Leslie H. Wexner, chairman and chief executive officer, said the company “delivered record results in the third quarter. Our brands are differentiated and have high emotional content and we continue to deliver new, compelling merchandise in an exciting in-store experience.”
Wexner said the company remains “focused on executing fundamentals and staying close to our customers,” adding that the retailer is “well-positioned for the most significant part of our year which is in front of us.”
Results were reported after the market closed. Shares of the company closed the day up 2.1 percent to $92.23 on higher-than-average trading volume. In after-market trading, shares were up 0.8 percent to $92.99. The 52-week high is $101.11, and the low is $75.11.
The specialty retailer posted same-store sales in October that rose 5 percent, which followed a 9 percent gain in September and a 6 percent increase in August. Results have outperformed other retailers in the specialty sector, which has struggled with fashion looks that have missed the mark and resulted in higher inventory levels and steeper markdowns.
By way of outlook, the company said it expects fourth-quarter earnings per share to range between $1.85 and $1.95. The retailer said in its quarterly report that it “raised its adjusted full-year earnings forecast to $3.69 to $3.79 per share from $3.58 to $3.73 previously, which incorporates the third-quarter earnings beat to its previous forecast and increased fourth-quarter interest expense of approximately [4 cents] per share related to its recent $1 billion note issuance.”
The retailer said the full-year guidance also includes “the previously announced negative foreign exchange impact of approximately [12 cents] per share.”