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Limited Brands Inc. (LTD), a specialty retailer of women’s apparel, beauty and personal care products, recently raised its third-quarter 2009 earnings guidance but warned on below-expectation October comparable-store sales trends.

The operator of the Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works store chains now expects its earnings per share between break-even and a loss of 4 cents. Earlier, Limited had forecasted a loss of 7 cents to 12 cents a share.

Limited also notified that it now expects free cash flow in the range of $500 million to $600 million for the fiscal year 2009, up from the $350 million to $450 million previously anticipated.

Despite an optimistic outlook, the retailer lowered its comparable-store sales guidance for the month of October 2009. The company cautions investors about the downtrend seen in the sales. Limited now expects comps to be negative low-to-mid single digits, slightly up from flat comps anticipated earlier.

Last month, Limited’s comparable-store sales rose 1% beating the analysts’ expectations. The better-than-expected result for the month of September raised hopes that consumers were now willing to shell out for luxury items that they previously ignored amid the economic downturn.

The company will report its third-quarter 2009 earnings on Nov. 19, 2009.

Limited currently operates 3,015 specialty stores, and its other brands include C.O. Bigelow, La Senza, White Barn Candle Co. and Henri Bendel.

Source: Limited Brands: Raises Outlook