Victoria's Secret customers are buying bras online ... and that's a problem

Sales ticked up just 1% in the the first quarter

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Victoria's Secret customers are shopping online, but it's not doing the company much good.

The intimate apparel chain's parent company, L Brands, reported on Wednesday that Victoria's Secret sales ticked up just 1% in the the first quarter of the year. Excluding online transactions, sales fell by 5%.

The brand, which stopped printing its catalog in 2016, has been trying to convince customers to go digital. Though the sales numbers show that it's working, it's spending a lot of money to get customers to make the transition.

L Brands slashed its earnings-per-share forecast for the rest of the year by more than 8%. First quarter profit plummeted by nearly half.

The news spooked investors. Shares of the company fell as much as 7% after the bell on Wednesday. This year, L Brand's stock has tanked 44%.

Still, Victoria's Secret sales performed better in the first quarter of 2018 than in the same period last year, when overall sales slumped 14%. And Bath & Body Works grew by 8% this quarter.

Victoria's Secret is facing steep competition from American Eagle Outfitters' Aerie, Gap's Love brand, and Amazon, which sells inexpensive bras and nightgowns under the Arabella brand.

— CNN's Paul R. La Monica contributed to this report.

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