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Limited's Third-Quarter Loss Is First in 10 Years

The retailer blames declining lingerie and apparel sales for the sluggish results but expects its profit to rise.

November 18, 2005|From Bloomberg News

Limited Brands Inc. reported a third-quarter loss Thursday, its first in at least 10 years, because of a decline in lingerie sales at Victoria's Secret and women's dress pants and shirts at its Express chain.

The loss of $12.3 million, or 3 cents a share, compared with net income of $78.3 million, or 16 cents, a year earlier. Sales were unchanged at $1.89 billion, the Columbus, Ohio-based company said.

Same-store sales at Express dropped 6% as Chief Executive Leslie Wexner reduced prices after expensive, career-oriented apparel alienated shoppers seeking contemporary fashions. At Victoria's Secret, comparable sales -- a key measure of retail health -- declined 4%.

Total sales at stores open at least a year dropped 3%. Sales for the company's Bath & Body Works chain rose 1%. Limited has 3,677 stores, including Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works, C.O. Bigelow, Express, Limited Stores, White Barn Candle Co. and Henri Bendel.

Limited said it expected profit this quarter to rise to $1 a share from 87 cents a year earlier, in line with analysts' estimates. Same-store sales this quarter are expected to rise "in the low single digit," Chief Financial Officer Ann Hailey said. Total company sales are expected to rise in the "mid-single digit," she said.

Shares of Limited rose 76 cents, or 3.6%, to $21.91.

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