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Limited Brands’ 1Q Earnings Flat

May 17, 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ Limited Brands said Monday that its first-quarter earnings were flat with a year ago when the retailer sold half its interest in a company that provides services for retailers and other companies.

The operator of such chains as Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works said it made $96.6 million, or 19 cents a share, for the quarter that ended May 1 compared with profits of $97.5 million, or 19 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenue increased 7 percent to $2 billion from $1.8 billion a year ago. Sales at stores opened at least a year, considered the best indicator of a retailer’s strength, were up 8 percent for the quarter.

The company reported a gain of $44.9 million, or 6 cents a share, for the quarter from the repayment of a note stemming from its sale of its New York & Co. chain in November 2002.

In the year ago quarter, the company reported a gain of $79.7 million from the sale of stock of Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems Corp., which provides transaction, credit and marketing services to a variety of industries.

Excluding the one-time gains in both quarters, the company reported a profit of $67.8 million, or 13 cents a share, compared with a profit of $50 million, or 9 cents a share, a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 13 cents a share.

Limited Brands had raised its earnings outlook for the first quarter in March, citing stronger-than-expected sales at Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works.

The company said Monday it is ``comfortable″ with second-quarter earnings estimates at the low end of its previous guidance of 23 cents to 26 cents per share. Analysts were looking for 25 cents a share.

Limited Brands operates 3,871 stores, including Express, Express Men’s, Limited Stores, White Barn Candle Co. and Henri Bendel.

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On the Net:

Limited Brands: http://www.limitedbrands.com

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