Columbus, OH—L Brands Inc. (formerly known as Limited Brands) posted Wednesday a 14% increase in first quarter earnings as sales continued to grow across its retail brands.
For the quarter ended May 2, L Brands reported a profit of $142.5 million, or 48 cents a share, compared to $124.6 million, or 41 cents a share, a year earlier. That was higher than the company’s own forecast for 46 cents earlier this month and ahead of analysts’ estimate for 46 cents.
Net sales rose 5.3% to $2.27 billion ahead of analysts’ estimate for $2.26 billion. Comparable store sales were up 3% as growth across its retail brands offset a decline at Victoria’s Secret direct sales. Sales at Victoria’s Secret increased 5% to $1.145 billion while comp sales were up 3%. Comp sales at La Senza increased 5% but net sales were down 3% to $72.8 million. Victoria’s Secret Direct posted a 6% decline in sales to $359.1 million.
Gross margin edged down slightly to 41.5% from 41.9%.
For its current quarter, the company projected per share earnings of 50 cents to 55 cents while analysts’ forecast was for 53 cents.
The company also raised its full year earnings forecast by 3 cents, now projected between $2.95 to $3.15 a share. Analysts’ consensus is for earnings of $3.12 a share.