Limited Brands February revenue figure rises

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The parent of Victoria's Secret and Bath and Body Works said Thursday that revenue at stores open at least a year rose 8 percent in February, topping analysts' expectations.

Limited Brands Inc. has found a niche with its chains, which offer Americans lingerie and beauty and bath products, small luxuries that people will buy for themselves despite the uncertain economy.

Analysts expected a 6.2 percent rise in same-store sales for the four weeks ended Feb. 26, according to Thomson Reuters.

The measure is considered a key gauge of a company's health because it excludes the impact of recently opened or closed stores. It rose 10 percent at Victoria's Secret, below the 8.6 percent analysts expected. And same-store sales were up 7 percent at Bath and Body Works. Analysts expected a 3.9 percent increase there. It rose 1 percent at the Columbus, Ohio-based company's smaller La Senza lingerie chain, where analysts expected a 2.2 percent drop.

Total sales for the four weeks ended Feb. 25 fell 2.5 percent to $653.9 million from $670.9 million in the same period last year. The decline was due to the fact that February 2011 sales included $70.5 million from a third-party sourcing business the company sold in November.

Its shares fell 25 cents to $46.28 in premarket trading.