Enjoying what appears to be a new lease on life after years of troubles, L Brands (BBWI 4.32%), parent company of Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, reported a profitable fourth quarter today. While the company's revenue missed the Wall Street consensus estimate of $4.95 billion reported by Zacks Equity Research, registering $4.82 billion in revenue and thus delivering a negative 2.6% surprise, net sales still rose 2.3% year over year from $4.71 billion.

L Brands shines on earnings in today's report, however. Net income reached a positive $860 million this year, a huge jump from last year's $192 million net loss. Adjusted earnings per share (EPS) skyrocketed 61% year over year from $1.88 to $3.03 for the quarter, and also marginally beat analyst forecasts with a 1.3% positive surprise.

The sun breaking out of dark clouds.

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While Bath & Body Works continues the strongest showing of L Brands' two brands, the results also reveal "continued significant improvement in performance at Victoria's Secret," in the words of CEO Andrew Meslow. Full-year sales rose 109% and 31% for Bath & Body Works and Victoria's Secret, respectively. The lingerie brand also saw improvements in other metrics, though its comparable sales (comps) declined by 3%.

Despite the upswing in the fortunes of Victoria's Secret, Meslow said the company still plans to spin the brand off or sell it to a private equity firm.

L Brands' stock ended the day's trading up 1.1%. Investor optimism may be prompted by the guidance offered. While the company isn't providing any full-year guidance for the coming year, it's predicting $0.35 to $0.45 EPS during Q1. That's less than Q4's figure, but much higher than Q1 2020's earnings during the initial impact of COVID-19.