Retail juggernaut Limited Brands, Inc. (NYSE:LTD) reported better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday after the market closed.
For fiscal 2011, the parent for the Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works franchises expects earnings between $2.15 and $2.35 a share, bracketing analyst forecasts for $2.26 a share. First-quarter earnings are expected to range between 26 and 31 cents a share, versus the Street’s projection of 29 cents a share.
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The company also boosted its comparable-store sales view for February, forecasting a rise in the high single-digit range, up from the previous guidance for a flat to low single-digit increase.
For the fourth-quarter, the retailer reported a profit of $452.3 million, or $1.36 a share, compared with profit of $356.1 million, or $1.08 a share in the fourth quarter of last year.
Adjusted earnings, excluding one-time gains, came in at $1.26 a share, up from year-ago earnings of $1.01 a share.
Revenue rose to $3.46 billion compared with year-ago sales of $3.06 billion. Gross margin improved to 41.8%, up from 40.8%, one year ago.
The results beat Wall Street’s forecast; expectations were for adjusted earnings of $1.25 a share with sales of $3.34 billion, according to an analyst poll by Thomson Reuters.
Shares of Limited Brands fell 76 cents on Wednesday. The stock was up 53 cents, or 1.7%, on the results in electronic trading after the bell.