NEW YORK — The already murky retail picture for the second half got even cloudier Thursday as both Limited Brands and Wet Seal expressed strong reservations about the balance of the year.

The cautionary note came as both retailers posted stronger second-quarter profits. Limited enjoyed a blow-outquarter, with earnings surpassing Wall Street’s estimates by 4 cents, but warned that a spending slowdown and declining mall traffic could dampen the back-to-school and holiday results.

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