http://www.morningstar.com/earnings/49140577-l-brands-inc-lb-q4-2012.aspx

L Brands Inc LB
Q4 2012 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 02/28/2013

Operator: Good morning. My name is Nicole, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Limited Brands' Fourth Quarter 2012 Earnings Call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers' remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session.

I will now turn the call over to Ms. Amie Preston, Chief Investor Relations Officer for Limited Brands. Please go ahead.

Amie Preston - IR: Thanks Nicole. Good morning, everyone, and welcome to Limited Brands fourth quarter earnings call for the period ending Saturday, February 2, 2013.

As a matter of formality, I need to remind you that any forward-looking statements we may make today are subject to our Safe Harbor statements found in our SEC filings.

Our fourth quarter earnings release and related financial information, including any non-GAAP or adjusted financial reconciliation tables, are available on our website, limitedbrands.com. Also available on our website is an investor presentation, which we will be referring to during this call. This call is being taped and can be replayed by dialing 1-866-NEWS-LTD. You can also listen to an audio replay from our website.

Stuart Burgdoerfer, EVP and CFO; Sharen Turney, CEO, Victoria's Secret; Nick Coe, CEO, Bath & Body Works; and Martin Waters, President of International are all joining us today. After our prepared comments, we will be available to take your questions for as long as time permits, so that we can speak with as many as callers as possible, please limit yourself to one question.

All of the results discussed on this call are adjusted results and exclude the one-time items that are described in our press release. Also as you know 2012 was a 53-week year. All of the sales dollars, margin and operating income results discussed are on a 14 to 13-week basis for the quarter and 53 to 52 week basis for the year. Comparable store sales and direct sales dollar increases or decreases are on a comparable calendar period, 53 to 53 weeks for the year and 14 to 14 weeks for the quarter.

Thank and now I'll turn the call over to Stuart.

Stuart B. Burgdoerfer - EVP and CFO: Thanks Amie and good morning everyone. Our overall fourth quarter results were good if not great. Performance was more inconsistent than what we would like. And while earnings were at the high end of our initial guidance we had hoped to better.

Fourth quarter adjusted earnings per share were $1.76 versus $1.50 last year.

Excluding earnings per share related to the extra week of about $0.08 this year EPS increased by about 12% in the quarter.

To take you through the fourth quarter results as detailed on Page 4 of the presentation, net sales were $3.856 billion which includes about $125 million for the 53 week versus $3.515 billion last year and comps increased 5% on top of 7% last year.

The gross margin rate increased 130 basis points to 45.2% driven by an improvement in the merchandise margin rate and buying and occupancy expense leverage. The SG&A rate increased by 10 basis points.

Read our Earnings Call Transcript disclaimer.
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