Bath & Body Works Inc. stock fell 1.7% in premarket trade Thursday, after the retailer blew past earnings estimates for the fourth quarter, but offered guidance that was well below consensus.
“The company’s forecast takes into consideration ongoing macroeconomic uncertainty and assumes a continuation of fourth quarter 2022 sales trends for the first half of fiscal 2023,” the company said in a statement.
Bath & Body Works BBWI,
Sales of products that include soap, air fresheners, body-care items and other wellness products, fell 5% to $2.889 billion, but were also ahead of the $2.807 billion FactSet consensus.
Chief Executive Gina Boswell said customers responded well to the company’s holiday season assortment, boosted by a loyalty program that now counts more than 33 million members.
The company now expects first-quarter sales to fall i the low to mid-single digits and for EPS of 17 cents to 27 cents. The FactSet consensus is for EPS of 44 cents.
For the full year, it expects flat sales to a mid-single digit decline and EPS of $2.50 to $3.00.
The company also announced plans to cut costs by $200 million with more than half of those included in its 2023 outlook. The FactSet consensus is for EPS of $3.63.
The earnings come a day after activist investor Third Point LLC laid out a plan to nominate candidates—including a shareholder representative—to the board of Bath & Body Works Inc., saying shareholders of the retail chain “urgently need representation” on grounds that executive pay was too high and financials were too weak.
The investment firm announced the plans after it boosted its stake in Bath & Body Works during the fourth quarter. Third Point has a more than 6% stake in Bath & Body Works.
Bath & Body Works, in a statement released late Wednesday, disputed Third Point’s accusations, saying its leadership regularly listened to shareholders and that it was committed to refreshing the composition of its board. The company said it would review any potential nominations introduced by Third Point.
The Wall Street Journal reported the news earlier in the day.
The stock has fallen 17% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 SPX,