L Brands key Dec. sales miss Street, cuts outlook


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- L Brands, which owns Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works and other retailers, said Thursday that sales at stores open at least a year rose 2 percent in December, but the performance missed Wall Street's view.

The retailer cut its fourth-quarter profit forecast mostly due to lower-than-expected merchandise margins because of promotions.

The stock declined in premarket trading.

L Brands' same-store sales rise of 2 percent missed the 3.7 percent increase that analyst polled by Thomson Reuters expected.

This figure is a key indicator of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

L Brands Inc., formerly known as Limited Brands, said that total revenue for the five weeks ended Jan. 4 climbed 8 percent to $2.1 billion from $1.95 billion.

For the year to date, sales at stores open at least a year climbed 2 percent and total revenue gained 6 percent to $10.04 billion.

L Brands now anticipates fourth-quarter earnings of about $1.60 per share. It previously predicted earnings in a range of $1.67 to $1.82 per share.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expect earnings of $1.79 per share.

The company's shares fell $2.69, or 4.5 percent, to $57.50 in premarket trading about an hour before the market open.

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