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COLUMBUS, OH-The same-store sales of Limited Brands’ two largest chains, Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret both soared, rising 11% during the second quarter. But the performance of the Express and Limited chains brought the company’s overall comparable sales down to 5% for the period, which ended July 29.

Express same-store sales plunged 11%, and Limited posted a 4% dip. Overall net sales increased to nearly $2.5 billion from just under $2.3 billion during last year’s second quarter.

Though all categories at Victoria’s secret experienced sales growth, operating income was flat, at $206 million, due to a decline in margins. Body Works’ $94-million operating income was up 25% boosted, in part, by what one executive called the chain’s “best Mother’s Day ever.” Together Express and Limited both lost $31 million.

Limited’s store count during at the end of the second quarter fell by about 150 units, to 3,519 from last year’s second quarter. Most of the stores closures were in the Express and Limited chains. At the end of its Q2, Limited operated 1,549 Body Works, 991 Victoria’s Secrets, 997 Limiteds and 700 Express units.

Limited’s earnings per share shot up 40% during the quarter, to 28 cents. Executives say they expect earnings to come in flat during the third quarter and are forecasting earnings per share to be between $1.55 and $1.65 for the full year, compared to $1.62 in 2005.

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