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Victoria's Secret may bounce back on solid data

2 months ago by Jon Marino in Earnings

As a number of brick-and-mortar retailer ready for the holiday season by boosting staff counts to satisfy busier lanes and lines, Victoria's Secret parent company L Brands ($NYSE:LB) looks to be doing the same for its portfolio of womens' brands. 

And, investors need it - shares are down 35% in 2019; when the company announces earnings Wednesday November 20, analysts tracked by Zacks Investment Research are anticipating EPS of $0.02, a big drop from a year ago. 

Job postings have risen more than two-fold from their spring 2019 lows, part of a cyclical pattern that has all L Brands (including all Victoria's Secret brands, and Bath & Body Works) properties staffing up around the holidays and then, around the beginning of the following year, slashing openings.  

Our next two charts get into social media buzz generated on Facebook ($NASDAQ:FB) for L Brands' brands. These declining "Talking About Counts" may be what pushed Wedbush Securities analysts, in a note dated November 18, to say "data shows sharp increases in markdown rates as driving likely sales, particularly at core Victoria's Secret," and that "tariff pressures lay ahead." 

Through the Facebook data we also track social media attention being paid to ancillary L Brands' assets - like Victoria's Secret Pink brand (below), which, not too long ago, was a white-hot holiday seller emblazoning the word "PINK" on legions of dedicated consumers, who have since shifted to new products and athleisure wear. 

Finally, the same challenge facing many top retailers is the same conundrum L Brands is looking at: a plethora of online competitors with lower costs for competition due to their lack of a brick-and-mortar storefront, and lower reliance on retail staff. ThirdLove ($THIRDLOVE) is one such brand - among many - that aims to chip into the popular womens' wear maker's top line, in part thanks to a better experience powered by its app, instead of a trip to the mall. Judging by its growth through LinkedIn ($NASDAQ:MSFT) Employee Count, ThirdLove is still scaling up, as it's grown by more than 27% in 2019.

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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