Limited Brands Posts Loss

It backs fourth-quarter estimates for earnings of $1 a share.
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Limited Brands

(LTD)

reported flat sales and a third-quarter loss Thursday that matched Wall Street forecasts.

Limited, whose Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works divisions have been unable to rescue a flailing apparel segment, lost $12.3 million, or 3 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with gain-swollen earnings of $78.3 million, or 16 cents a share, last year. Analysts had been forecasting a loss of 3 cents a share in the latest quarter.

Sales were unchanged from a year ago at $1.89 billion, also matching estimates. Same-store sales skidded 3% from a year ago in the quarter.

Limited Brands said it is comfortable with existing analyst forecasts for earnings of $1 a share in the current quarter. The company also added $133 million to $67 million of outstanding authorized share buybacks after repurchasing $233 million of its own stock in the year to date.

The stock closed Wednesday at $21.15, about 14.2 times the consensus earnings estimate for the year ending in January 2007.