Victoria's Secret Owner Falls as Preliminary Profit Misses

L Brands Inc., owner of the Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works chains, fell the most in six years after preliminary first-quarter profit trailed analysts’ estimates.

Earnings in the quarter through April were at the high end of the company’s previous guidance range of 50 cents to 55 cents a share, Columbus, Ohio-based L Brands said Thursday in a statement. Still, analysts had been looking for more, with an average estimate of 58 cents.

The disappointing results highlight the challenges L Brands faces after longtime Victoria’s Secret head Sharen Jester Turney announced in February that she was stepping down as head of the lingerie brand. Comparable-store sales at Victoria’s Secret fell 1 percent in April, the company said Thursday. Analysts surveyed by Retail Metrics estimated they’d rise 4 percent.

“Comparable sales misses at L Brands are rare,” Howard Tubin, an analyst at Guggenheim Securities, said in a note to clients Thursday. “Softer beauty and core lingerie sales dragged down overall Victoria’s Secret comparable sales.”

L Brands’ companywide comparable-store sales for April also missed analysts’ projections. Revenue by that measure rose 1 percent. Analysts projected a 4.8 percent gain, on average.

The shares tumbled as much as 11 percent to $71.30 New York, the biggest intraday decline since May 6, 2010. L Brands already had dropped 16 percent this year through Wednesday.

(A previous version of this story was corrected to fix the spelling of Sharen Jester Turney’s name.)

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