L Brands Beats Q2 Expectations, But Soft Guidance Hurts Shares

Andrew Klips  |

Following Wednesday’s closing bell, L Brands, Inc. (LTD) , the company formerly known as Limited Brands, posted better-than-expected profits and sales for the second quarter, inspiring the retailer to hike its outlook for the full 2013 year.  The improved guidance still fell short of Wall Street predictions, chalking the company up as yet another retailer to disappoint, sending shares lower in extended trading.  Recently, Macy’s (M) and Wal-Mart (WMT) cut their forecasts for the year, citing consumer’s reigning-in spending.

The press release was short on commentary with the company hosting an earnings call at 9 AM EDT tomorrow morning.

For the quarter ended August 3, the Columbus, Ohio-based company posted revenue of $2.52 billion, up 5 percent from $2.4 billion in the year prior quarter.  Adjusted earnings totaled $178.91 million, or 61 cents per share, compared to $143.65 million, or 49 cents per share last year.  The second quarter last year took a $3.6-million (1 cent per share) charge related to closing La Senza stores.  There were no adjustments in the current quarter.

Analysts were expecting earnings per share of 60 cents on revenue of $2.51 billion.

The company, who’s brands include Victoria's Secret, Pink, Bath & Body Works, La Senza and Henri Bendel, said that same-store sales, an important barometer of performance as it eliminates impacts from stores opening or closing, improved by 2 percent compared to sales in the second quarter last year. 

Across all its brands, the company operates 2,629 specialty stores in the U.S. with its products in 700 more either corporate-owned or franchised locations internationally.

Gross profit increased from $942.47 million last year to $988.63 million.  Gross margin was flat at 39.3 percent.  Cost of goods sold, buying and occupancy expenses rose 5 percent to $1.53 billion.  General, administrative and store operating expenses decreased by 6.32 million to $630.82 million.

Looking ahead, L Brands said that it sees third quarter earnings in a range of 23 cents to 28 cents per share.  Wall Street's view was 29 cents per share in profits. 

For the complete fiscal year, the company guided earnings per share between $3.06 and $3.21 against analyst expectations of $3.21 per share.  Previously, L Brands had provided earnings outlook between $2.95 and $3.15 per share for the year.

Earlier this month, L Brands announced a quarterly dividend of 30 cents per share, payable on September 6 to shareholders of record on August 23.  It was the company’s 155th straight quarterly dividend.

Shares of LTD traded 0.8 percent lower during the regular session, closing at $59.85.  The tepid guidance further pressured shares in after-hours trading, sliding to about $58.00 for losses in excess of 2 percent.  At the closing bell, shares were up about 28 percent in 2013.

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