Apparel group Limited Brands (NYSE:LTD) has temporarily changed its name to L Brands, apparently because time ran out for the company to stop using "Limited" in its name. The company, which runs the Victoria's Secret, Bath and Body Works and La Senza chains, completed the sale of its flagship The Limited chain in August 2010.
In an SEC filing on March 22, the company said changing its name was a requirement of the deal to sell The Limited, and that the new name is temporary. "The Company expects to announce a new permanent name for the Company in the months ahead," the filing said.
That suggests that either something went very wrong with a new name the company planned to use, or that executives simply forgot about the name-change requirement until the deadline arrived--and then had to scramble to switch to a name nobody wanted.
Ironically, the emergency name change for The Company Formerly Known As Limited arrived just as an even more bizarre retail-chain name duplication came to an end. On March 21, the two grocery chains known as Albertsons finally completed their merger, reuniting the chain that was split up in 2006. Because of that split, for seven years the two halves of the former chain used the same name and logo, but nothing else (for example, one of the half-chains kept its loyalty program, which didn't work in the other half-chain's stores). Confusion for customers reached its peak in 2011, when one Albertsons announced it planned to rip out all self-checkout lanes, after which the other Albertsons announced it was doing no such thing.
In that light, maybe for L Brands having a funny name for a few months isn't so bad after all.