Limited Brands has more than doubled its second quarter profit, helped by gains from the sale of its Express unit.

Second quarter net income was up 133.8% to $264.4m compared to $113.1m last year, with earnings per share rising to US$0.67 from $0.28.

Operating income climbed 62% to $318.9m compared to $196.8m last year.

Limited Brands Inc, which operates the Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works chains, has unloaded its apparel brands to focus on its higher-profit lingerie and beauty products businesses

The second quarter included a pre-tax gain of $302m related to the divestiture of a 75% stake in Express to affiliates of Golden Gate Capital, and a pre-tax loss of $73m related to the divestiture of a 75% share in Limited Stores to affiliates of Sun Capital Partners.

The company reported a comparable store sales increase of 2% for the  period and net sales for the 13 weeks were $2.624bn compared to net sales of $2.454bn last year.

The company stated that it is comfortable with current earnings per share estimates for the third and fourth quarters of $0.04 and $1.18, respectively.

Limited Brands, through Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works, CO Bigelow, La Senza, White Barn Candle Co and Henri Bendel, presently operates 2,895 specialty stores.