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How L Brands Put Such Surprising Sizzle Into Its Earnings

By Rhian Hunt – Aug 19, 2020 at 6:18PM

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Victoria’s Secret wasn’t the secret sauce rocketing its parent past consensus.

Victoria's Secret parent L Brands (BBWI -0.77%) showed some of its old zing today when posting its second-quarter results, beating consensus analyst estimates by a large margin on earnings per share (EPS) and a smaller amount in revenues. Despite the ongoing toll of COVID-19 on Q2 sales, the company reported adjusted EPS of $0.25, beating the Zacks analyst estimate of a $0.34 loss per share by $0.59 and delivering a 173% positive surprise.

L Brands' net sales dropped 20% from $2.90 billion in Q2 2019 to this year's $2.32 billion, but still beat analyst predictions of $2.27 billion. Despite the sales dip due to store closures in the earlier parts of the quarter, however, adjusted EPS still rose $0.01 year over year. Also, $205.7 million in Q2 2020 operating income overshot 2019's $174.6 million, and this year's $69.0 million in net sales rose 2.07% year over year.

A woman shopping for personal care products

Image source: Getty Images.

The troubled Victoria's Secret brand wasn't the source of L Brands' surprisingly strong Q2 results, with its sales plunging 39%. Even during the part of the quarter when its stores were open, the lingerie brand's comparable sales, or comps, were down 10%.

Instead, it was the Bath & Body Works brand that cleaned up financially for L Brands. Its "direct business" generated sales soaring 191% over Q2 2019's figure, while comps showed 87% year-over-year gains once stores reopened, and the brand's overall comparable sales of $1.197 billion for the whole quarter rose 13% year over year.

The figures support L Brands' ongoing commitment to focus on strengthening Bath & Body Works while spinning off Victoria's Secret. L Brands' shares ended the day up 1.03% and continue to climb in after-hours trading.

Rhian Hunt has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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