Limited Brands to Cut Corporate Jobs

Retailer Limited Brands Inc. (LTD) will cut corporate jobs in Columbus and New York to reflect a smaller company that is moving away from apparel sales to concentrate on lingerie and beauty businesses, the company said Friday.

The operator of Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works will reduce the size of its corporate staff by about 530 jobs, or 10 percent. The reductions will include the elimination of open positions, transfers as part of its plan to sell two-thirds of its stake in Express and reductions of current staff, the company said.

The cuts will save $100 million annually beginning in the next year, according to the company, which will release the cost of the job reductions later this year.

Shares jumped $1.04, or 3.8 percent, to $28.23, in early trading Friday. The shares have traded between $23.54 and $32.60 in the past year.

"We have launched a broad effort to streamline the company, enhance productivity and efficiency, and focus resources on the most promising growth opportunities," Les Wexner, the company's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

Limited Brands said last month that it would sell 67 percent of its interest in Express to affiliates of private equity firm Golden Gate Capital for $548 million. The sale is expected to close on July 6.

It also said it is considering options for Limited Stores chain that could include a sale. The company said Friday that the review is underway.

Express and Limited Stores had just $2.2 billion of Limited Brands' $10.7 billion in sales last year.

Limited Brands said it will increase the size of the share repurchase program from $500 million to $1 billion.

Limited Brands operates 3,764 stores under the names of Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works, C.O. Bigelow, Express, Limited Stores, La Senza, White Barn Candle Co., Henri Bendel and Diva London.