Victoria’s Secret parent L Brands Inc. delivered third-quarter profits and sales that rose more than anticipated while providing a fourth-quarter outlook that trailed analysts’ expectations.

In the three months ended Nov. 1, the Columbus, Ohio-based intimate apparel giant reported net income of $131.8 million, or 44 cents a diluted share, 43.3 percent above the $92 million, or 31 cents, tallied in the third quarter of 2013.

Revenues rose 6.8 percent to $2.32 billion from $2.17 billion in last year’s period, with same-store sales, as reported earlier in the month, up 5 percent. Victoria’s Secret’s comps were ahead 3 percent and Bath & Body Works up a more robust 7 percent.

On average, analysts had expected EPS of 39 cents on sales of $2.31 billion. Earlier this month, the company lifted guidance for EPS to a range of 38 to 40 cents from earlier projections of between 26 and 31 cents.

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The improvement came in part from the firm’s ability to navigate the choppy promotional waters of soft goods retailing. The bottom line received a boost from a 130 basis point pick-up in gross margin, to 40.8 percent of sales from 39.5 percent in the year-ago quarter.

The company furnished fourth-quarter guidance for EPS of between $1.61 and $1.71, consistent with previous projections but below the consensus estimate of $1.77.

L Brands provided the results without comment and is slated to hold a conference call this morning [Thursday] to discuss the results and guidance. When it reported October sales on Nov. 6, the company said it expected a low-single-digit comp for the current month.

In the quarter, total sales for the Victoria’s Secret brand were up 5.8 percent to $1.45 billion, with stores ahead 6.7 percent to $1.18 billion and direct sales up 2.2 percent to $274.7 million. The increase in the direct channel came despite its decision to pare its noncore apparel and beauty businesses. Victoria’s Secret stores in the U.S. and Canada posted a 3 percent comp increase, 1 point lower than the 4 percent advance in the 2013 quarter and despite a flat comp in October.

The international business for the two brands grew more than a third, expanding 33.8 percent to $80 million from $59.8 million in the year-ago period.

Bath & Body Works revenues were up 8.7 percent to $659.4 million, with comps ahead 7 percent in the three months.

For the year to date, net income rose 15.4 percent to $477.1 million, or $1.60 a diluted share, as sales added 6.2 percent to $7.39 billion. Same-store sales were up 3 percent, with Victoria’s Secret up 3 percent and Bath & Body Works up 4 percent.

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