Bath & Body Works closing 50 US stores after coronavirus shutdown

L Brands is also scheduled to open 26 new Bath & Body Works locations this year

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Malls across the nation are beginning to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, but some will do so without a Bath & Body Works.

Fifty U.S. stores and one in Canada are slated to close this year, the retailer's parent company L Brands said in an earnings report last week.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
LBL BRANDS INC.15.65+0.14+0.87%

Nearly all Bath & Body Works stores, which specialize in scented candles, fragrances, cremes and lotions, closed in mid-March due to the spread of COVID-19. During the first three months of the year, total sales for Bath & Body Works locations in North America dropped 18 percent to $712.7 million.

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The retailer's online business, however, surged 85 percent due to an increased demand for hand sanitizers and scented soaps.

"We've been able to grow our sales in soaps and sanitizers materially, even with the stores closed for half the quarter," L Brands CEO Andrew Meslow told investors during the earnings call. "I think appropriately that that should continue to be a growth category for us as we look out into the foreseeable future."

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According to reports, most of the affected stores will be located in malls, where traffic is floundering.

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"I think it's fair to assume that there will be some of the at-risk mall properties that may not come back to their pre-crisis levels of productivity," Meslow told investors.

Despite the closures, L Brands is slated to open 26 new Bath & Body Works locations within the U.S. this year bringing its total store count to upwards of 1,613.

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