Retailer Limited Brands said first-quarter profit plummeted 76 per cent due to poor clothing sales.

First-quarter net income totalled $23.1 million compared to $96.6m in 2004, while net sales were $1.975 billion compared to $1.978bn a year ago. Same-store sales for the quarter fell 5 per cent.

Apparel sales saw big decreases in March and April, with the new IPEX bra failing to draw the demand expected.

Limited Brands operates the Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works, Express, Express Men's, Limited Stores, White Barn Candle Co and Henri Bendel store chains.