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Limited Brands key January revenue metric up 9 pct

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Limited Brands Inc., operator of Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, said Thursday that its January revenue at stores open at least a year rose 9 percent, beating Wall Street predictions.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a 3.7 percent rise. Revenue at stores open at least a year is a key indicator of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

The metric rose 8 percent at Victoria's Secret stores and 10 percent at Bath & Body Works. It climbed 15 percent at La Senza, Limited's Canadian lingerie store chain,

The company's total revenue for the five weeks ended Feb. 2 jumped 27 percent to $986.4 million from $774.5 million in a four-week period the year before. The extra week added $125 million in sales.

For the fourth quarter, which also ended Feb. 2, Limited said its revenue at stores open at least a year rose 5 percent, while its total revenue increased 10 percent to $3.86 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet expect revenue for the quarter of $3.76 billion.

The company also said Thursday that it's "comfortable" with analysts' prediction of an adjusted fourth-quarter profit of $1.73 per share.

Limited Brands will release full fourth-quarter results on Feb. 27.

Based in Columbus, Ohio, the company runs 2,619 stores in the U.S. It also has 700 company-operated and franchised locations in other countries.

Limited shares slipped 39 cents to $46.85 in premarket trading Thursday. The stock has risen 5.4 percent over the past 12 months.