The company, which operates 2,669 stores, said net income for the three months ending July 31 was $178.7 million or $0.54 per share. This marks a rise of 140.5% on the same period last year, when profit was $74.3 million or $0.23 per share. Excluding gains relating to the sale of shares in the Express clothing chain and its remaining interest in Limited Stores, earnings were $0.36 per share.
Net sales rose 8.5% to $2.243 billion for the quarter, up from $2.067 billion last year. Comparable store sales were up by 7%beating expectations.
Looking ahead, the company expects third quarter earnings per share of $0.03 to $0.08 compared to $0.02 per share last year. It also lifted its August same-store sales forecast to a rise in the mid to high single digit range.
For 2010, the company increased its earnings forecast to $1.68 to $1.83 per share, from earlier predictions of $1.60 to $1.80 per share. Analysts were looking for a profit of almost 6 cents per share for the third quarter and full-year earnings of $1.81 per share.
The sterling performance marks the end of a three-year transition which has seen the company move away from apparel toward more profitable intimate apparel and beauty products.
Limited Brands completed that transition in June when sold its remaining 25% stake in namesake Limited Stores LLC to the chain’s majority owner for $32 million.