Limited Brands (NYSE:LTD) revealed a 19% improvement in fourth-quarter profit that beat expectations, however it recorded a hefty tax charge and forecast slower growth in 2012, sending the shares 2.7% lower in extended trade.
The operator of Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works earned $359.4 million, or $1.17 a share, compared with a year-earlier $452.3 million, or $1.36.
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Excluding one-time tax items, it made $1.50 a share, above average analyst estimates of $1.46 in a Thomson Reuters poll.
Revenue for the three-month period was $3.52 billion, beating the Street’s view of $3.46 billion.
The Columbus, Ohio-based retailer attributed the gains to a 7% increase in comparable-store sales, or those open longer than a year, partly offset by the sale of Limited’s third-party apparel sourcing business in the beginning of November.
As it looks toward 2012, though, Limited sees full-year earnings in the range of $2.60 to $2.80 a share, just below Wall Street’s outlook of $2.9 billion. For the current period, it sees earnings of 35 to 40 cents, missing average estimates of 44 cents.
The retail giant said it completed its previously announced $250 million share repurchase program, and its board has authorized a new one valued at $500 million.