The owner of Victoria’s Secret is plunging after forecasting weaker-than-expected sales

L Brands on Wednesday forecast a steeper drop in February comparable sales as its biggest brand, Victoria’s Secret, faces slowing demand, sending the company’s shares down 17% in trading on Thursday.

L Brands forecast a mid-to-high teens decline in total comparable sales, above the mid-single digit drop it had estimated previously.

The company said it expected a fall of about 20 percent in February comparable sales at Victoria’s Secret and a mid-single digit decline at Bath & Body Works.

L Brands has restructured its business to focus on its core brands and exited certain product categories last year, including swim and apparel business of Victoria’s Secret.

The exit lowered the company’s total comparable sales for the fourth quarter by 2 percentage points, L Brands said on Wednesday.

Ongoing weakness in core lingerie could be more difficult to repair as management continues to employ various incentives to rejuvenate traffic, Mizuho Securities analyst Betty Chen said in a pre-earnings note.

The company’s net income fell to $631.7 million, or $2.18 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 28 from $636 million, or $2.15 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding a tax settlement, L Brands earned $2.03 per share, above the average analysts’ estimate of $1.90 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Earlier this month, L Brands reported a 2 percent rise in sales, its slowest quarterly sales growth in three years.

Up to Wednesday’s close, they had fallen 31 percent in the past 12 months.

source
L Brands

(Reuters reporting by Jessica Kuruthukulangara in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)