COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- L Brands Inc. said Thursday that a key sales figure fell in March compared with a year ago, but was still better than what analysts expected.
Sales were hurt by the late timing of Easter this year, the owner of the Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works stores said.
Sales at stores open a year fell 1 percent last month compared to the same period a year ago, the retailer said. Sales at stores open at least a year is considered a key indicator of a retailer's financial health. It strips away the impact of recently opened or closed stores.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected sales at stores open a year to fall 1.6 percent in March.
L Brands said the later Easter, which falls on April 20 this year compared to March 31 a year ago, hurt its key sales figure by 2 to 3 percentage points.
Total sales rose 3 percent to $923.7 million in the five weeks that ended April 5, compared with $894.8 million a year ago.
L Brands, based in Columbus, Ohio, operates 2,917 stores around the world including Pink, La Senza and Henri Bendel.
Its shares were steady at $58.88 in premarket trading shortly before the market open.