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LB

L Brands

$31.34

2.81 (9.85%)

10:55
10/11/18
10/11
10:55
10/11/18
10:55

L Brands jumps on September comp sales rise, La Senza review

Shares of L Brands (LB) surged after the parent of Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works said it would pursue alternatives for its La Senza business. Separately, the company said comparable store sales for September were up 5%, while total sales for the period rose 8%. LA SENZA NEWS: L Brands said on Thursday that it will pursue all alternatives for La Senza, which currently has 126 company-owned and operated stores in North America and 188 non-company owned international stores, as part of an ongoing effort to drive shareholder value and in order to focus on its larger core businesses. The company also said it expects La Senza to post an operating loss of about $40M on revenue of approximately $250M in 2018. WHAT'S NOTABLE: In September, L Brands said it would close all 23 of its Henri Bendel stores and the Henri Bendel e-commerce website in January. "We are committed to improving performance in the business and increasing shareholder value. As part of that effort, we have decided to stop operating Bendel to improve company profitability and focus on our larger brands that have greater growth potential," Leslie Wexner, chairman and CEO of L Brands, said at the time. The company cut its forecast for the fiscal year in August, citing declining demand for its PINK line. Along with the guidance cut, the company announced that PINK CEO Denise Landman made the decision to retire at the end of this year. Amy Hauk, president for merchandising and product development of Bath & Body Works, was announced as Landman's replacement. SEPTEMBER RESULTS: Separately, L Brands said same-store sales for the September period were up 5%, while total sales for the five-week period rose 8% to $1.06B. On the company's sales call, management said SSS were up 1% at Victoria's Secret, driven by growth in lingerie and beauty partially offset by a decline in PINK. Bath & Body Works comparable sales were up 13%, it said. ANALYST COMMENTARY: In a research note to investors, Loop Capital analyst Laura Champine maintained a Sell rating and $24 price target on L Brands following another promotional month at Victoria's Secret that failed to clear inventory. Champine noted that she has been calling for the company to pursue alternatives for La Senza "over the past several years," and said that 2018 estimates for the segment were worse than she expected. Champine told investors in a research note that it is "no wonder that management never grew the brand much outside of its core Canadian market. It remains to be seen whether there will be a buyer for La Senza; there was none for the storied Henri Bendel brand." PRICE ACTION: In morning trading, shares of L Brands are up 9.4% to $31.22.

LB L Brands
$31.34

2.81 (9.85%)

09/14/18
JEFF
09/14/18
NO CHANGE
Target $20
JEFF
Underperform
Jefferies says L Brands needs to do more than close Henri Bendel
While closing money-losing Henri Bendel stores and e-commerce is a smart short-term strategy, "major" longer term problems remain across L Brands, Jefferies analyst Randal Konik tells investors in a research note. The analyst continues to believe Victoria's Secret "is broken and over-stored," PINK is "faddish and breaking," and Bath and Body Works "is peaking and overstored." He recommends management take further action to preserve cash "before the next recession," like cutting the dividend, closing stores and reducing capital expenditures. Konik keeps an Underperform rating on L Brands with a $20 price target.
09/18/18
BOFA
09/18/18
UPGRADE
BOFA
Neutral
L Brands upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at BofA/Merrill
09/18/18
09/18/18
UPGRADE

Neutral
L Brands upgraded to Neutral at BofA/Merrill
As previously reported, BofA/Merrill upgraded L Brands to Neutral from Underperform and raised its price target to $33 from $26. Analyst Lorraine Hutchinson believes the Henri Bendel brand closure is the first attempt by management to focus on and stabilize shareholder value. Hutchinson also said valuation and the 8% dividend yield provide share support.
09/20/18
PIPR
09/20/18
NO CHANGE
Target $28
PIPR
Neutral
Piper concerned by ongoing promotional activity at Victoria's Secret
Piper Jaffray analyst Erinn Murphy says her channel checks at Victoria's Secret stores suggest heightened levels of promotional activity have yet to abate. She believes the "B2GO" free bra promotion was extended by a week and that it was extended in select markets towards PINK product, which was supposed to be excluded. Murphy points out that L Brands reported a Victoria's Secret comp of down 5% for August, driven by declines in PINK. The analyst remains cautious on shares of L Brands, despite its recent decision to exit Henri Bendel, and awaits further visibility into the performance at Victoria's Secret. She keeps a Neutral rating on the shares with a $28 price target.

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