On an adjusted basis, Limited's first-quarter net income came in 36% higher at $67.8 million, or $0.13 per share. These numbers exclude a $0.06 per-share pretax, nonoperating gain.
Meanwhile, overall same-store sales increased 8%, and net sales were 7% higher than last year at $1.98 billion. Good chemistry emanated from the Victoria's Secret unit, which posted a 15% gain in same-store sales, while Bath & Body Works enjoyed a 7% increase in the same. However, both Express and the Limited stores reported flat same-store sales.
(For any Foolish investors who were hoping for a statement of cash flows to make the financial picture complete, Limited didn't include one.)
We got a hint of looming challenges when April same-store sales dragged. While Bath & Body Works and Victoria's Secret did well, the Limited and Express concepts represented the weak link in the company's set of mall-based chains. According to today's conference call (transcript courtesy of CCBN StreetEvents), Limited has been decreasing what it called, "the heavy level of indiscriminate discounting and promotion in Limited Stores." That's sort of a disturbing way to describe its markdown environment until now, and the change has been tough so far.
Just last Thursday, Ann Taylor
Other companies that could be swiping Limited and Express customers? Some bets include Aeropostale
Limited may have met its recently first-quarter estimates, but investors took a chunk of its stock price for breakfast. It's hard not to be disappointed when some specialty retailers are seeing flush times these days, but Limited also said it anticipates its second-quarter earnings to be at the low end of its previous guidance.
Despite today's negativity, we all know setbacks happen at times, and Limited has a good rep. However, with rivals indicating that they're swiping some customers, it's a good time to keep an eye on some of Limited's businesses.
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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.