May 20, 2020 / 8:57 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-L Brands posts bigger-than-expected loss on COVID-19 disruptions

(Adds sales details, profit comparison, COO departure)

May 20 (Reuters) - L Brands Inc posted a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss on Wednesday, as its Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works stores remained shut during the period due to the cornavirus-induced lockdowns.

Stay-at-home orders put in place to contain the spread of the virus hit both the struggling lingerie and the thriving Bath and Body Works personal care products businesses.

Meanwhile, as announced earlier, Leslie Wexner, who bought Victoria's Secret in 1982, stepped down as the chief executive officer of L Brands last week, with Bath & Body Works CEO Andrew Meslow replacing him.

Bath and Body Works business, which makes fragrances and body care products, reported an 18% fall in sales.

Sales at Victoria's Secret, in which the company unsuccessfully tried to sell a majority stake to Sycamore Partners, nearly halved to $821.5 million.

Columbus, Ohio-based L Brands posted a net loss of $296.9 million, or $1.07 per share, in the first quarter ended May 2, compared with a profit of $40.3 million, or 14 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company incurred a $96.8 million impairment charges related to some Victoria’s Secret store assets.

Excluding items, L Brands posted a loss of 99 cents per share, while analysts on average had expected a 72-cent loss, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net sales decreased 37% to $1.65 billion. (Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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