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Bear of the Day: L Brands (LB)

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Founded in 1963 and in headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, L Brands (LB - Free Report) is a specialty retailer of women's intimate and other apparel, personal care, home fragrance and beauty products. They own Victoria’s Secret, PINK, Bath & Body Works, La Senza and Henri Bendel brands.

The company operates more than 3,000 owned specialty stores in the US, Canada, the UK and China, and its brands are sold in more than 1,000 additional franchised locations worldwide. Their products are also available online.

Weak Guidance Reflects Rising Challenges

The company posted quarterly earnings of 48 cents per share beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 45 cents and also above the company’s initial guidance of 40-45 cents. However, the earnings were down 31% year over year. The company also missed our consensus estimate for sales.

The management cut their FY 2017 guidance. They now expect earnings in the range of $3.00-$3.20 per share, down from the previous guidance of $3.10-$3.40 and also below the previous year earnings of $3.74.

Shares plunged almost 7% in the after-hours trading and are now down about 46% this year.

Falling Estimates

Analysts have slashed their estimates for the company after weak guidance.  Zacks Consensus Estimates for the current and next fiscal year have fallen to $3.12 per share and $3.19 per share from $3.24 and $3.33 respectively, before the report.

L Brands, Inc. Price and Consensus

L Brands, Inc. Price and Consensus | L Brands, Inc. Quote

The Bottom Line

In addition to disappointing mall traffic, the retail space is going through a shift toward online shopping. With tightening labor markets, wage pressure has also started hurting retailers.

Further, the industry “Retail - Apparel and Shoes” is currently ranked 164 out of 265 Zacks industries (bottom 38%) and “Retail and Wholesale “sector is ranked 16 out of 16, suggesting potential underperformance in the short-to-medium term.

It would be better for investors to stay away from this stock and instead look at Children’s Place (PLCE) which is currently ranked Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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