Limited Brands (LTD) was the biggest winner of the month, as comparable sales soared 24%. Analysts were forecasting a much smaller increase of 6.7%.
The month was driven by Victoria's Secret's semi-annual sale, which started one day later, pushing some sales out of December and into January. Victoria's Secret is rarely promotional, which creates pent-up demand, traditionally making its semi-annual sale a big sales week.
Limited lifted its fourth-quarter outlook to $1.23 to $1.25 a share, from a previous range of $1.02 to $1.17 a share. For February, it is expecting flat to slightly positive same-store sales.While its February forecast would be a significant deceleration in recent trends, Lejuez notes that Limited's guidance has been conservative all year. "The Limited story continues to be compelling, with consistent positive comparable sales results, less cotton/cost pressure than more in the apparel universe, and a growing international business," Lejuez wrote. "We think that the market still underestimates the EPS growth an attractive returns on capital that international expansion is likely to provide over the long term." Shares of Limited are climbing 6.3% to $30.97.