For the second quarter, net sales were $544.7 million compared to $578.6 million in last year's second quarter. This decrease of 5.9% primarily reflects a comparable sales decline of 3.2%, the unfavorable impact of the calendar shift due to the 53rd week in fiscal 2017, as well as the impact of 42 net store closures since last year's second quarter. The comparable sales decline was primarily driven by a decline in transaction count partially offset by higher average dollar sales. For the second quarter, gross margin was $196.9 million, or 36.1% of net sales, compared to $209.1 million, or 36.1% of net sales, in last year's second quarter. Gross margin rate as a percent of net sales was primarily driven by a 100 basis point improvement in maintained margin, offset by costs related to continued expansion of our omni-channel fulfillment programs and deleverage of store occupancy costs. Click Read More below for additional information.
L Brands, Inc. (NYSE: LB) reported net sales of $1.058 billion for the five weeks ended Oct. 6, 2018, an increase of 8 percent, compared to net sales of $981.6 million for the five weeks ended Sept. 30, 2017. Comparable sales increased 5 percent for the five weeks ended Oct. 6, 2018, compared to the five weeks ended Oct. 7, 2017.
The company reported net sales of $7.524 billion for the 35 weeks ended Oct. 6, 2018, an increase of 7 percent compared to net sales of $7.015 billion for the 35 weeks ended Sept. 30, 2017. Comparable sales increased 3 percent for the 35 weeks ended Oct. 6, 2018, compared to the 35 weeks ended Oct. 7, 2017.
As part of an ongoing effort to drive shareholder value and in order to focus on its larger core businesses, the company announced that it is pursuing all alternatives for its La Senza business. La Senza currently has 126 company-owned and operated stores in North America and 188 non-company owned international stores. Operating results for La Senza are included in the company’s Other segment for financial reporting. The company estimates that La Senza’s 2018 revenues and operating loss will be approximately $250 million and $40 million, respectively.