NEW YORK — Limited Brands’ accountants had a better first quarter than did its merchants.

With Victoria’s Secret not selling enough bras and Express failing to gain traction in the sweater and denim categories, adjusted net income, excluding extraordinary items in this year and last year’s quarters, skidded 35.2 percent to $49.8 million, or 8 cents a diluted share, in the three months ended May 3, 1 cent above consensus estimates but well below the $76.9 million, or 14 cents, registered in the year-ago period.

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