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L Brands Raises Dividend

Adds a special $1-a-share special dividend.

L Brands Inc., formerly Limited Brands, has raised its dividend 13 percent and declared a special $1-a-share dividend.

The Columbus, Ohio-based owner of Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works has raised its annual dividend to $1.36 a share from its previous level of $1.20.

The first quarterly dividend at the higher rate, 34 cents a share, and the special $1 dividend, will be paid on March 7 to shareholders of record Feb. 21.

The company noted that, with these distributions, it will have returned more than $15 billion to shareholders since 2000.

The dividends paid next month will be the 157th consecutive quarterly dividend disbursed by the company.

The company on Jan. 9 lowered its fourth-quarter earnings guidance to approximately $1.60 a share from its earlier range of between $1.67 and $1.82 because of “lower than forecasted merchandise margins due to incremental promotional activity.” In the five weeks ended Jan. 4, comparable-store sales rose 2 percent, with comps at Victoria’s Secret up 3 percent and direct sales up 1 percent.