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Gazette Premium Content L Brands key November sales figure falls 5 percent

Associated Press Updated: December 5, 2013 at 11:45 am

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — L Brands, the owner of Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works and other retailers, said Thursday that sales at stores open at least a year dropped 5 percent in November.

That was a bigger decline than Wall Street expected and marked the first drop since October 2009 when the retailer posted a 4 percent decrease for that measure.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet forecast a 1.1 percent drop for the company formerly known as Limited Brands.

This metric is a key gauge of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

L Brands Inc. said that the results were for the four weeks ended Nov. 30. That includes Black Friday, but doesn't include the entire holiday shopping weekend.

Total revenue for November climbed 7 percent to $988.5 million from $922 million.

For the year to date, sales at stores open at least a year rose 2 percent. Total revenue increased 6 percent to $7.94 billion.

L Brands runs 2,660 specialty stores in the U.S. Its brands are sold in about 800 additional company-run and franchised locations worldwide. Last month the Columbus, Ohio company reported that its third-quarter profit rose 25 percent, beating Wall Street's view. It provided a modest full-year earnings forecast.

Shares slipped 69 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $62.56 in late morning trading. The stock is up about 34 percent for the year so far.

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