AP News

L Brands 4Q sales slow, profits disappoint

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — L Brands Inc., the owner of Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works and other retailers, says that its fourth-quarter profit jumped 19 percent as the prior year was weighed down by special charges.

The Columbus, Ohio-based company's adjusted profit for the period exceeded market expectations, but it issued a weak forecast and its shares edged lower in late trading.

L Brands earned $489.6 million, or $1.65 per share, for the quarter that ended Feb. 1 versus $411.4 million, or $1.39 per share, in the prior year. On an adjusted basis, it earned $1.76 per share in the prior year. Revenue slipped to $3.82 billion from $3.86 billion.

The prior year's quarter included an extra week.

Analysts polled by FactSet were anticipating earnings of $1.61 per share on revenue of $3.85 billion for the period.

L Brands said that its revenue from stores open at least a year increased 1 percent. This is considered a key indicator of sales performance as it strips away the impact of recently opened and closed stores.

The company is one of many retailers to report a sluggish holiday sales period. Shoppers remained reticent to spend for the season and promotions cut into many company's profitability.

For the full year, the retailer earned $903 million, or $3.05 per share, on revenue of $10.77 billion.

L Brands said that it expects to earn between $3.00 and $3.20 for this year, but analysts were anticipating $3.31 per share. It forecast earnings of 44 to 49 cents per share for the first quarter; analysts had forecast 52 cents per share.

Shares fell 7 cents to $56.50 in extended trading following the announcement.

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