Bath & Body Works is opening, renovating and closing stores this year.
There will be 46 new stores added to the fleet, 175 renovations and 24 closings, according to parent company L Brands’ quarterly earnings presentation, released Wednesday ahead of an earnings call with analysts Thursday morning.
In February, L Brands announced 53 Victoria’s Secret stores would shutter in 2019. Documents released Wednesday show that 35 have closed as of May 4.
As of May 4, Bath & Body Works has closed three stores and opened 14 stores this year.
“We will continue to actively manage our real estate portfolio … we have opened 822 stores, closed 675 stores and sold 130 stores over the last 10 years,” L Brands said in a provided transcript for Thursday’s meeting.
Between the openings and closings, Bath & Body Works is growing by 3% while sister store Victoria’s Secret is shrinking by 3%.
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After the closings and openings there will be 1,641 Bath & Body Works, 909 Victoria’s Secret and 144 Pink stores in the U.S.
Victoria’s Secret, which also is opening two new stores and three Pink locations, continued to struggle and in the first quarter saw comparable sales decline by 5%, documents show. At Bath & Body Works comparable sales increased by 13%.
L Brands said it will continue to invest in Bath & Body Works’ White Barn concept, “which continues to yield strong returns. Consistent with the last 3 years, we have about 200 White Barn projects planned for 2019.”
There have been more than 7,000 store closings announced for 2019, more than all of 2018. This year, Gymboree, Shopko, Charlotte Russe, Payless ShoeSource and Dressbarn all have announced they were shuttering all locations.
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Last week, Coresight Research, a global market research firm, estimated “12,000 stores could be shuttered by the end of the year.”
Analysts say it’s possible a trade war with China could lead to more widespread closings.
L Brands says its new forecast includes the additional impact from the recent tariff increase on goods imported from China.
“Our largest country of supply is the U.S. where the majority of Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret Beauty products are produced,” the company said. “China currently represents a little under 20% of our total production, and we have taken and will continue to take action to mitigate our exposure to China.”
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