Investors got excited over Limited
Back before Halloween, longtime Fool Rick Munarriz pointed out that Limited was on fire. Even then the retailer was predicting earnings in the $0.08- to $0.10-per-share range, almost twice its original projections. In October, same-store sales increased 14%.
Today, Limited said it now expects adjusted third-quarter earnings of $0.10 per share, which includes a $0.03-per-share tax benefit. The company also increased its yearly earnings estimate to a range between $1.35 and $1.42 per share. Limited had originally forecast earnings of $1.35 per share.
Meanwhile, it has increased the price range in its tender offer to between $25.25 per share and $29.00 per share. Investors were previously expecting the tender offer in the $21.75- to $25.00-per-share range.
For quite some time now, Limited's Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works chains were carrying the company in terms of being fashionable with shoppers (and, one might argue, having negligible direct competition). Both mall-based chains face a myriad of competitors such as Ann Taylor
However, October revealed what may be better times ahead, with Express booking a 15% increase in same-store sales for the month and Limited Stores up 5%. (Both retail concepts faced easy comparisons to last October, of course, and overall third-quarter, same-store sales will still look unattractive as broken out for the two chains.)
Given Limited Brands' current success, a jump-start in the Limited/Express direction could prove to be quite a point for celebration going forward. Investors should keep a close eye on the progress of the Limited and Limited Express concepts, and whether the company can reinvigorate them and set them apart from formidable rivals.
As it is, Limited investors don't have much to complain about at the moment. As Rick pointed out, this is a pretty upbeat way to move into the fourth quarter -- the holiday season, retailers' favorite time of the year.
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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.