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Limited’s 3rd-Qtr. Earnings Decline

November 21, 2002

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ Limited Brands on Thursday reported its earnings fell sharply in the third quarter compared to a year ago when the company had a huge gain from the sale of its Lane Bryant chain.

The specialty retailer behind the Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works stores earned $15.7 million, or 3 cents a share, in the quarter ended Nov. 2, compared with $90.1 million, or 21 cents a share, a year ago.

Excluding special items related to the sale of Lane Bryant and the reacquisition of Intimate Brands Inc., Limited earned $11.6 million, or 2 cents per share, in the quarter in contrast to a loss of $13.8 million, or 3 cents per share, a year ago.

Net sales $1.98 billion, compared with $1.91 billion a year ago. The company said sales at stores open at least a year _ the best indicator of a retailer’s strength _ were up 3 percent for the quarter driven by strong results at Victoria’s Secret.

The earnings were in line with the consensus forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Limited said it was comfortable with analysts’ expectations of profits of 73 cents for the fourth quarter.

``We still remain concerned about the overall environment including consumer confidence, unemployment and mall traffic levels,″ spokesman Tom Katzenmeyer said. ``We are also concerned about how the uncertain international political situation may impact consumers this year.″

Limited shares rose 6 cents to close at $16.11 in trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

For the first nine months, earnings were $148.8 million, or 29 cents a share, down from $192.4 million, or 44 cents a share, last year. Nine-month net sales were $6.1 billion, down slightly from $6.2 billion a year ago.

Limited Brands operates 4,594 stores through Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, Express, Express Men’s, Lerner New York, Limited stores, White Barn Candle Co. and Henri Bendel.

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On the Net:

Limited: http://www.limitedbrands.com

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