Limited Brands Inc. on Wednesday posted double-digit gains in both profits and sales for the fourth quarter and full year.

 

For the three months ended Jan. 29, income rose 27 percent to $452.3 million, or $1.36 a diluted share, from $356.1 million, or $1,08, a year ago.

 

Excluding pretax gains of $44.9 million from the sale of Express stock and $7.1 million related to an Express dividend payment in the current period, and a tax benefit of $23.3 million in connection with the reorganization of certain foreign subsidiaries last year, adjusted income was up 26.1 percent to $419.7 million, or $1.26 a diluted share, from $332.8 million, or $1.01, last year.

 

The company projected adjusted EPS of $1.23 to $1.25 when it disclosed its January same-store sales figures earlier this month.

 

Sales rose 12.8 percent to $3.46 billion from $3.06 billion, as comparable-store sales rose 10 percent. Comps for the quarter rose 15 percent at Victoria’s Secret and 6 percent at Bath & Body Works but fell 5 percent at the La Senza unit.

 

For the year, income jumped 79.7 percent to $804.8 million, or $2.42 a diluted share, from $447.9 million, or $1.37, last year. On an adjusted basis, income increased 70.4 percent to $684.5 million, or $2.06 a diluted share, from $401.8 million, or $1.23, last year. Sales gained 11.4 percent to $9.61 billion from $8.63 billion.

 

The company said it expects 2011 full-year earnings per share at between $2.15 and $2.35, with first quarter EPS estimates ranging between 26 cents and 31 cents. It also said it expects February comps to rise in the high single digit range, versus its previous estimate of flat to up low single digits.

 

The firm will discuss the results and guidance during a conference call Thursday morning.

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