Limited Brands Inc has reversed last year's third-quarter loss by posting a net income of $15.8 million, or three cents a share, for the three months ended 2 November.

Last year's figures were inflated to $90.2 million by the sale of its Lane Bryant stores pumped up the bottom line. Without that gain the retailer, which operates 4,594 specialty stores, including Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works and Express would have posted a loss of $13.8 million.

The results for the latest quarter include a pretax gain of $6.1 million from the sale of Charming Shoppes Inc stock, which the company received as part of the sale of Lane Bryant to Charming Shoppes in August 2001. Without that gain, earnings would have been just $11.7 million, or two cents a share.

Sales in the quarter rose 4 per cent to $1.98 billion from $1.91 billion. Same-store sales rose 3 per cent.