Pure Beauty

Bath & Body Works exceeds Q1 expectations despite 4% net sales slip

By Julia Wray | Published: 19-May-2023

The toiletries retailer has updated its full-year forecast to reflect better-than-expected bottom line results

US toiletries retailer Bath & Body Works has seen net sales decrease 4% for the first quarter of 2023. 

The dip, to just under US$1.4bn, was said to be in line with the vendor’s expectations. 

However, Bath & Body Works’ earnings per diluted share (EPS) for the quarter were better than anticipated at $0.35.

“We delivered first quarter sales in line with our expectations while our EPS was better than anticipated as we saw benefits from our work to improve merchandise margin, as well as early benefits from our cost optimisation initiatives,” said Gina Boswell, CEO of Bath & Body Works.

“We maintained our intense focus on efficiency and navigated the ongoing challenging macroeconomic environment.”

The company has updated its full-year forecast to reflect better-than-expected bottom line results and the impact of the gain on the early extinguishment of debt in the first quarter.

Ohio-based Bath & Body Works is best known for its fragrance mists, body lotions and creams, liquid hand soap and three-wick candles. 

It operates out of more than 1,800 stores in the US and Canada, as well as via 435 international franchised locations and online at bathandbodyworks.com.

The company has undergone major c-suite changes in recent months, with Unilever alumni Boswell taking over the reins from Sarah Nash in December. 

Nash herself stepped in as interim CEO in May 2022 after the departure of 20-year boss Andrew Meslow. 

More recently, the company’s Wendy Arlin stepped down as CFO and the appointments of Thilina Gunasinghe as Chief Digital & Technology Officer and Maurice Cooper as Chief Customer Officer (a newly-created role) were announced. 

New appointments to Bath & Body Works’ board of directors, meanwhile, caused controversy earlier this year, when investor and billionaire owner of hedge fund Third Point Daniel Loeb issued a board challenge

His move came a day after the US personal care seller announced the appointment of Hershey Company’s Steve Voskuil to its board of directors.

Loeb stated at the time that the retailer’s addition of new directors did not address his concerns over governance, capital allocation and executive pay.

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